"I can't tell you how many times I've looked at the same [crime scene] photograph over and over again, and it wasn't until the very last time that I said, 'there it is. Why didn't I recognize it?'" the former Denver homicide detective told 9News on Friday.
Priest is not involved in the ongoing investigation into the murder of Jessica Ridgeway, but his experience working Denver's toughest homicides over the last 25 years certainly gives him credibility to talk about some of what he considers the basics of the troubling case.
"Individuals that do this kind of behavior have usually thought about it and fantasized about it for years," he said. "That could be the situation we're talking about here."
The fact that the body was found along Leyden Road in western Arvada also tells him that the murderer is likely not a newcomer.
"It certainly tells me that I am dealing with someone relatively comfortable with the area. They have a general idea of what this area has to offer," he said.
He calls the killer "organized" and says he's quite possibly a social person who finds it easy to blend in.
Former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole told 9News on Friday that she has noticed an apparent contradiction with the killer's behavior.
She said the location of where the body was found tells her that the killer wanted the body to be found. Yet the fact that the body was not left intact tells her that there might have been an effort to make identification all the more difficult.
"Why that location? Why would you put someone there if you're trying to delay identification?" she asked. "You leave remains where you know they're going to be found? Those two things go against each other."
She spent years assisting in some of the country's most notorious serial killer investigations. She said what happened in Westminster and Arvada is clearly not the work of a person who simply snapped.
"This is not snapping behavior where someone was fine yesterday or fine last week, and now they've gone out and done this," O'Toole explained.
She also believes the killer is paying close attention to media reports.
"It's very likely your offender will be following your press releases very closely," she said.
She urged anyone with even seemingly insignificant information to contact police.
"This person has a car; this person was in the area for a period of time. They don't just drop down from space," she said. "He was in fact seen by someone. They just might not realize it."
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