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New Details About Natalie Bollinger's Murderer And His Claims She Posted A Craigslist Ad Searching For A Hitman To Kill Her

Photo: Denver Post
New Details About How Natalie Bollinger's Killer Said She Wanted To Be Murdered

Joseph Michael Lopez claims she hired him to kill her.

According to her killer, Natalie Bollinger put a hit on herself on Craigslist.

A man named Joseph Michael Lopez, 22, told authorities Bollinger, 19, hired him to take her life.

Lopez was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder Thursday after agreeing to follow the police to the sheriff’s office and was taken into custody after answering some questions, according to KDVR.

The suspected killer said he never told anyone what happened and that it was “eating away” at him. He also told authorities he suffered from depression and had a history of suicidal thoughts.

Lopez said he and Bollinger knew each other through social media and had not been friends long. He told authorities the 19-year-old had placed an ad titled “I want to put a hit on myself” in the “Men Seeking Women” category on Craiglist.

A report by The Denver Channel said that Lopez claimed he picked Bollinger up from her Broomfield apartment on December 28 and they discussed the deal, including payment and how she wanted to be killed.

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Lopez claimed he tried to talk Bollinger out of it but she insisted he shoot her “on her knees…executed from behind.”

At first, Lopez told police he didn’t follow through with the deal and brought Bollinger back to her apartment. Then he said she shot herself. But after police pulled up GPS data from Lopez’s phone that placed him where her body was found, he admitted he killed her with a single shot to the back of the head.

Lopez said Bollinger “knelt down on the ground and that he knelt down along her left side and slightly in front of her.” The two said a prayer, then Lopez stood up, closed his eyes and pulled the trigger, according to the affidavit.

According to Lopez, Bollinger’s purse and the gun are in his trunk. Police have found a weapon but Adams County Sheriff Michael McIntosh said it is too early to determine if it is the murder weapon.

Bollinger’s phone contained a text message conversation with an unknown number with a total of 111 messages. Police linked text messages to Lopez’s number.

Lopez declined to give a motive for the murder.

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“It’s very difficult in these cases, even if there is a stated motive to really determine long-term what that motive truly is,” McIntosh said. “The motive will truly come out in the courtroom.”

Bollinger’s body was found along a dirt road by a passerby on December 29.

The Colorado teen disappeared December 28, not long after she posted about a stalker on Facebook.

Authorities quickly questioned the alleged stalker, Shawn Schwartz, whom Bollinger had a restraining order against. Schwartz, 42, was later cleared from the suspect list.

According to the Adams County coroner, she was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head. The coroner’s report also noted her history of heroin and methamphetamine use and that she had a "potentially lethal level of heroin in the blood."

Lopez told authorities that at no time did "they have or consume any type of drugs.”

According to police documents obtained by The Denver Channel, some of Bollinger’s friends told law enforcement that she had a history of suicidal thoughts and was having issues with her boyfriend.

"Even if she asked for assistance, if he's the one who pulled the trigger, it's still murder," said David Beller, a Denver7 legal analyst, and criminal defense attorney. "If this is something that the victim was pursuing and asking for, it doesn't alleviate his legal responsibility, but it certainly mitigates it."

Lopez is being detained at the Adam’s County Detention Center on first-degree murder charges. His court date has not been set.

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