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A series examining nearly 100 unsolved murders in the region

Police have suspect, problem in 1998 Trostle slaying

Amanda Arthur
Daily Times-Call
2001 Times-Call Publishing Co.

   LONGMONT It's still unsolved, but Longmont police think they know who did it.

   The only problem: The suspect died a year ago.

   James Colomac Jr. was the prime suspect in the murder of 59-year-old Gerald Trostle in April 1998.

   Trostle was found by a housekeeper who picked the lock on Trostle's bedroom door when he didn't get up that morning.

   She found Trostle lying on the floor of the apartment he shared with Colomac at 1200 Kimbark St. with a bag over his head. He'd been suffocated.

   Detective Sgt. Jim Bundy said Colomac and Trostle had been placed in the apartment they shared; they both suffered from physical disabilities and had similar financial situations.

   Naomi Carlock, Trostle's sister, said Trostle, a former IBM janitor, had been placed at the apartment through social services.

   "He (Gerald) was disabled. He suffered from a brain injury at birth and his whole left side was shorter. He also didn't use his right hand very well," she said.

   Sgt. Bundy and Carlock could not remember what exact ailments Colomac suffered from, but  both he and Trostle required the services of a visiting caretaker.

   "There was some talk about disagreements between them (the men) on certain things they were roommates," Bundy said.

   He said Colomac became a suspect in the case for several reasons.

   "He was a suspect just because he was the last person seen with Trostle and also because of statements he made in regard to what happened that day," he said.

   Carlock said she and her family did not originally suspect Colomac of Trostle's homicide.

   "We just didn't think he (Colomac) could have done it. He seemed so feeble," she said.

   She said she believes the person who killed her brother was not a stranger.

   "The person who did it is somebody who knew him (Trostle). They went clear through the house without stealing anything, and past two rooms to Jerry's," she said.

   She said Trostle and Colomac had very different lifestyles; Trostle was an early riser while Colomac stayed up late and preferred to sleep in.

   She said she was not made aware of Bundy's suspicions until after Colomac's death.

   "I found out that Joe (Colomac) died before it was in the newspaper and I went down (to the police station) and that's when he (Bundy) told me what he thought had happened," she said.

      Colomac was never arrested or charged in the case because police didn't have enough evidence to show probable cause.

   The case has been listed as pending since Trostle's death, but will soon be listed as inactivate for lack of new information, suspects and leads, according to Bundy.

   "Having suspicion and proving something are two different things," he said. "We just haven't gotten to that point yet."

   He said although the case will be inactive, it will not be closed, and police will follow up if any new information surfaces.

   Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Longmont Police Detective Division at 303-651-8523. 

   If you have information about this case or any part of the series, call Amanda Arthur at 303-776-2244, ext. 215, or e-mail her at