Ricky Severt

Ricky Severt has been identified as the lead suspect in the November 8, 1999 rape and murder of 23-year-old Jennifer Watkins in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The case has been cleared by exception due to the death of Severt.

Watkins disappeared during her shift at Memorial Hospital where she worked as a food service aid. She was found in a secluded stairwell in an area of the hospital that was under construction. She had been sexually assaulted and beaten, and her body had been wrapped in plastic and bound with duct tape. She died from blunt force trauma to the head.

A DNA profile was developed from semen found on her clothing. The FGG investigation was conducted by Parabon.

Severt was also an employee at Memorial Hospital at the time of Watkins’ killing. He worked in the maintenance department. Severt was killed in a traffic accident in November of 2001. Confirmation of his identity was made with living relatives who assisted in the investigation.

Many hospital employees were questioned as suspects in connection with Watkins’ murder. DNA samples were also taken from several suspects, including her husband.


Keith, Tony. “Police Announce They Solved the 1999 Cold Case Murder of Jennifer Watkins in Colorado Springs at Memorial Hospital.” KKTV 11 News, December 9, 2020. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://www.kktv.com/2020/12/09/police-announce-they-solved-the-1999-cold-case-murder-of-jennifer-watkins-in-colorado-springs-at-memorial-hospital/?fbclid=IwAR0Q2vbrtJKjMwpTmQJaotsErCtf6iyIoJwSlkBDt-_YL-7rjJhwdJHs_sU.

McRae, Jennifer. “Colorado Springs Detectives Solve 1999 Cold Case Murder of Jennifer Watkins.” CBS 4 News Denver, December 9, 2020. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://denver.cbslocal.com/2020/12/09/jennifer-watkins-ricky-severt-colorado-springs-cold-case-solved-1999-murder/.

O’Dell, Isaac. “DNA ‘Hit’ Leads to Suspect in 21-Year-Old Unsolved Murder at Colorado Springs Hospital, Officials Say.” The Gazette, December 9, 2020, last modified December 12, 2020. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://gazette.com/news/dna-hit-leads-to-suspect-in-21-year-old-unsolved-murder-at-colorado-springs-hospital/article_2a7f9906-3a6c-11eb-8267-b371442c71ba.html.

Parabon Nanolabs. “Parabon® Continues Cold Case Crime-Solving Spree in 2020: Killer’s Identification Closes Strong Year.” Parabon Nanolabs (Press Release), January 12, 2020. Accessed January 14, 2020. https://parabon-nanolabs.com/news-events/2021/01/parabon-continues-cold-case-crime-solving-spree-in-2020.html?fbclid=IwAR1KrPdNDxyCwa82ARy1xZLV9elo_Um4cyLhzFs7a64asjBksHDpaC-ecm8.


First Name Ricky
Last Name Severt
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started 2018-06-00
Case Cleared 2020-12-09
IGG Org Parabon


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1446 Jennifer Watkins 23 1999-11-08 Colorado Springs, CO Colorado Springs PD; CO BI; El Paso CCO Second degree murder Case was cleared by exception due to death of perpetrator n/a

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.