In October of 1863, southwestern Colorado Territory was months into a murder spree that would put any modern serial killer to shame. But Lieutenant Colonel Samuel F. Tappan thought he might well be looking at a chance to end it for good.
Leander Philbrook had stumbled into Fort Garland with word that he had escaped the murderers after they had shot the mules he was driving. He had been traveling by wagon between Trinidad and Costilla with Maria Dolores Sanches when attacked. The man and woman had fled on foot but soon Maria had hidden in some rocks so as not to slow down Philbrook while he searched for help.More