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Douglas County sheriff asks public for information in 43-year-old murder case after suspect kills himself

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit is seeking public assistance in resolving the 1981 murder of 29-year-old James “Jim” Ihm after a suspect in the killing was arrested last year and killed himself, officials said Thursday.

The announcement comes 43 years after Ihm’s body was found in unincorporated Douglas County.

Richard “Rick” Eastridge, of Littleton, was arrested Nov. 8 for what sheriff’s officials called his “participation” in Ihm’s murder.

Investigators said evidence recovered in 1981 and analyzed in 2023 and multiple witness statements led to Eastridge’s arrest. Eastridge also confessed and implicated himself and others who planned to rob Ihm of a large amount of marijuana, which sheriff’s officials said resulted in Ihm’s murder, according to a news release.

Eastridge took his own life on Nov. 15 while out of custody on bail, sheriff’s officials said.

Douglas County sheriff’s officials did not disclose what charges Eastridge was arrested on last year. They said they could not release Eastridge’s arrest affidavit because the case had been sealed.

Deborah Takahara, a spokeswoman for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, on Thursday declined to provide any additional information about Eastridge’s alleged role in the 1981 homicide.

On Feb. 20, 1981, Ihm planned to meet Eastridge and others at the Brazenhead Inn in Woodland Park to finalize the details of Ihm’s marijuana sale before traveling to a secluded area for the final transaction, according to sheriff’s officials.

Ihm was shot to death and his body was found on March 8, 1981, near Fern Creek Road, one mile east of Colorado 67.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit asks anyone with information on Ihm’s death to call 303-660-7528 or email

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