Editor’s note: This story contains details from public records some readers may find disturbing.
A Grand Junction man who allegedly wrote letters threatening to kidnap, kill and dismember young women has been arrested and charged federally with interstate communications containing threats.
Daniel Alfred Gallegos, 33, faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines if he is convicted.
“Above everything else, our most important job is keeping Coloradans safe,” said United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn in a Friday statement announcing the arrest. The announcement notes Gallegos is innocent until proven guilty.
“Threats to the public always need to be taken seriously. We commend the quick thinking and fast work of the FBI and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, who make responding to potential threats a top priority.”
On Aug. 23, the Bradford County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office provided the FBI with a letter postmarked from Grand Junction Aug. 17. The letter, on photocopied notebook pages, had “Delta County,” “Grand County” and “Moab” written in white-out, as well.
According to a Thursday federal complaint against Gallegos, police in Seattle received the same letter. It read, in part:
“I am currently having a lot of trouble with my homicidal ideation. I don’t know why. I’m just obsessed with murder.”
The letter also states the writer was diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder and in the margins states: “No empathy, No remorse, Detached.” Also written in the margins are references to Colorado, Utah and Washington State, which are referred to by state nicknames.
“Lately, my urges and compulsions have been incontrollably (sic) strong. Every time I see young, beautiful females ares 15 - 30, I so badly wish to lure them to my van, take them to a remote location and pleasure them. I don’t need them to physically please me … I want to strangle them, either with my hands or a liggature (sic).”
The letter then details how the writer envisions getting rid of DNA and other evidence, including a plan to “dust them with flour.” Above a smiley face and the words “Fingerprint free!” the author wrote: “I may then use pruners to remove their fingers to throw in every direction, to increase the size of the crime scene and throw off law enforcement.”
The letter also indicates its author “may or may not” decapitate the victim “so that I can play with the head in a different location, if I have a secure location. … I have steps I need to complete before I can hunt and capture.”
On the margin of this page are the words “sexually deviant since childhood.” The page also contains a list of items the writer envisions needing, including hair clippings from barber shops to scatter at the crime scene. In the margin, the writer notes: “will need LOTS of flour.”
The writer states he has been admitted for psychiatric care before for “homicidal ideation” and that past misdiagnoses were a “grave mistake” because his urges are stronger than ever.
“The only thing that will save me and countless women is love. I am trying to date a woman from (redacted). … I await the response from this woman I hope to date.
“God have mercy on us all if I am rejected by yet another woman,” the letter states.
The writer did not sign is name because “that would be too easy.” Instead, in block print, are the letters: RMGREENIEGDLSRLFA. It also contains a series of numbers that appear to be compass coordinates, a heart symbol and the caution: “May be 3 in 1 body. You figure it out.”
The P.S. states: “If you think this is a joke, think again. Clock’s ticking. My control wavers (sic, and another smiley face). Thought you deserved a head start … sort of.”
The letter “clearly establishes” a threatening communication and was sent to Florida from Grand Junction — across state lines, thus constituting a federal crime, FBI Agent John Busch wrote in an affidavit.
The FBI used barcoding and other coding on the postage stamp affixed to the letter to track where it had been purchased; these came back to a kiosk on North Fourth Street in Grand Junction. The kiosk’s camera recorded the person making the purchase as well as the credit card used.
Busch was able to obtain the account information; it allegedly came back to Gallegos. The agent also was able to match the kiosk’s surveillance photo to Gallegos’ driver’s license and a booking photo taken this past June at the Mesa County jail.
Another postage stamp with most of the same characters as the one used to mail the Florida letter linked Gallegos to another that was sent to a Denver television station, referencing the threats in the first letter. The note came in an envelope with a return address for “Bill Thomas Kidd.”
It stated: “Get ready to cover a fun story. A game is commencing! Police in Seattle PD and the sheriff in Bradford County Florida are going to be trying to find a disturbed individual with plans to murder countless young women. You get to play too! Hear this Colorado is a fun place to play! Can anyone figure out the solution before it’s too late? — FSM.”
Busch said in the federal affidavit he was able to match details about Gallegos’ life to those in the letters.
Last October, Gallegos was taken to a psychiatric hospital after reportedly threatening suicide, stating he “felt like killing anyone” and his medications were off, Busch alleged.
The affidavit says Grand Junction police had to respond less than a month later for another reported suicide threat, during which Gallegos purportedly “spoke about being cannibalistic and that he was going to eat people.”
He was again taken to the hospital.
A third threat of self-harm brought authorities out again Jan. 13, according to the affidavit.
Busch used open records searches to find postings he alleges were from Gallegos on a web forum, which purportedly talk about manipulating his wife, who had recently sought divorce.
The person posting on the forum also mentioned having twisted compulsions and that he lost his job after mental health providers acted under legal requirements to warn his employers.
Busch said Gallegos had been fired in February when his work was told of his “homicidal ideations.”
“The arrest in this case highlights the success that can be obtained when federal, state, and local agencies combine resources to pursue potential threats to our community,” FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips said.
“We extend our gratitude to our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for working together to quickly address this matter.”
Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.