Police Said Teen Holly Moore Committed Suicide, But Not Everyone Is Convinced

Troubling questions about Holly Moore's hanging death just one week after she turned 19 have many calling for a new investigation.

June 26, 2019
Holly Moore [Investigation Discovery]
By: Mike McPadden

CASTLE ROCK, CO — On March 6, 2015, just one week after she turned 19, the body of college student Holly Moore was discovered hanging in her bathroom closet with an electrical cord wrapped around her neck.

Holly’s roommate reportedly found her, dialed 911, and then called Ray Moore, Holly’s father. After Ray raced to the scene, he said, Castle Rock Police officers told him on the spot that his daughter had committed suicide.

Indeed, the police recorded Holly’s death as a suicide in their original report. So, too, did Dr. James A. Wilkerson IV the Douglas County Coroner’s Office after he performed an autopsy.

Ray Moore, however, didn’t believe Holly killed herself then, and he doesn’t believe it now.

The still grieving dad has been up front about the challenges his daughter faced at the time — she was a full-time caregiver for her quadriplegic mother and she had been prescribed antidepressants which, Ray admits, Holly had run out of in the days before she died.

In addition, Holly had recently split from her boyfriend, an Army specialist referred to solely as "Steven." The night she died, text messages sent from Holly’s phone reportedly indicated that the exes were fighting.

Steven is said to have accused Holly of being involved with her male roommate. Police say a reply message from Holly’s phone declared, “You don’t deserve a goodbye,” and included a photo of her thigh with the names of friends and family members written on it — with “Steven” in the middle. The text conversation allegedly ended there.

During the initial police investigation, April Moore, Holly’s sister, says she told officers that she suspected Steven might be involved in the death. April alleged that just a week prior, on Holly’s 19th birthday, she witnessed Steven choking her sister.

April told a reporter, “I saw him lifting her up with just one hand, and Holly was off the ground almost a foot. Holly was turning red, she couldn’t breathe. She was saying, 'stop, stop, stop!'”

The station additionally reported that a second witness went on record with the cops claiming Steven “put [Holly] in a choke hold to get her to pass out.”

CBI Agent In Charge Kirby Lewis, however, after speaking with with multiple officials, was not able to find any backup supporting the claims of abuse.

Ray and April also reported that Holly’s room was tidy to the point of being spotless, looking, to them, like someone had cleaned it extremely thoroughly, perhaps, they theorized, to eliminate or cover up evidence.

Regardless, Castle Rock Sargent Tim Ratcliff told the press that authorities were standing by their original determination, stating, “The totality of the situation led us to believe that this was a suicide.”

Determined to keep looking into Holly’s death, her family hired renowned forensic medical examiner Dr. Selma Eikelenboom.

Reportedly, Eikelenboom requested X-rays of Holly’s remains from the County Coroner, but the office refused to provide them. Eikelboom said she X-rayed the body at the funeral home instead and noted that Holly had a broken collarbone.

The coroner’s office reportedly later said the break occurred during the autopsy, but Eikelenboom pointed out that no record of any such break was included in the report.

Eikelenboom reportedly went on to state that Holly had injuries on her lip and chin, indicating she might have been kicked. The doctor also noted that the deep horizontal ligature marks on Holly’s neck were inconsistent with the vertical marks left by a typical hanging suicide. She said, in fact, they seemed to be more in keeping with marks left by strangulation.

Furthermore, Eikelenboom said the fact that Holly’s fingers were tightly wrapped underneath the electrical cord around her neck only made sense if “she was strangled by somebody else and she is trying to fight if off.”

Talking to KDVR-TV, Eikelenboom said, “The more we investigate, the more indications we get that this is indeed a homicide and not a suicide.”

Allegedly motivated by public pressure for Holly’s death to be reconsidered, on December 24, 2015, the Castle Rock Police Department (CRPD) reportedly handed the case over to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a peer review.

On February 1, 2017, CBI Agent In Charge Kirby Lewis reportedly completed the multifaceted review and the agency backed up the cops’ original finding — that Holly Moore died by her own hand.

The review further stated that the CBI looked deep into the police work, the county medical exam records, and all the information provided by the independent investigators hired by Holly’s family, and concluded that the case had been handled properly.

Nonetheless, Ray Moore remains convinced that someone killed his daughter. He and others have pledged to continue seeking justice for Holly — and to continue asking questions.

For more on the case of Holly Moore, watch Investigation Discovery's Still a Mystery on ID GO!

Next Up

Inside The 27-Year Investigation Of JonBenét Ramsey’s Murder

On Dec. 26, 1996, the pageant princess was found strangled to death in her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado.

Mystery Remains Decades After Hawaii Teen Lisa Au Was Found Dead In 1982

The 19-year-old was an ‘ideal young lady’ and daughter who ‘you’d never think this would happen to,’ a former investigator says.

Questions Remain In 2009 Case Of High School Senior Found Dead On Minnesota Tribal Land

Stacy Hill, a Red Lake Nation girl, is remembered as a creative and popular student who loved “long walks with family and friends.”

Who Killed Michelle O’Keefe? Teen Found Dead in Mustang After Kid Rock Video Shoot

A wrongfully convicted man spent 11 years behind bars for the murder, but he was acquitted in 2017.

Chicago Woman Who Went Missing After Taking Uber Ride Has Been Found Dead

21-year-old Rosa Chacon went missing in January 2023 after getting into an Uber ride outside her home in Chicago. Two months later, her body was found tied up, wrapped in sheets, and dumped in a shopping cart.

True Crime News Roundup: Mother Found Naked And Burned After Sending Daughter Mysterious Message

Plus: ‘Riverdale’ actor sentenced to life for murdering his mother; 13-year-old boy found dead in woods; college teen student after getting into the wrong car; and Denver man found guilty of fatally shooting 21-year-old dog walker.

Remains Of Jane Doe Identified As 15-Year-Old Arizona Girl Missing Since 1992

Investigators are looking into if the teenager could have fallen victim to a serial killer.

New Document Reveals Bodies Of Teenage Girls Were Staged in Delphi Killings

A recently-released FBI search warrant reveals new details about the 2017 killing of Abigail Williams and Liberty German along a public trail in Delphi, Indiana.

Mohave County Sheriff Searching For Suspect And Victim’s Two Young Children From 1989 Case

If you know anything about this case, the Mohave County Sheriff would like for you to contact them directly: 928-753-0753 ext. 4408.

Georgia Police Officer Arrested In Connection With 16-Year-Old Girl’s Death

After the remains of a missing 16-year-old girl were found in the woods of an Atlanta suburb on Feb. 6, a local police officer was arrested in connection with the crime.