- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014

THORNTON, Colo. (AP) - A Colorado man suspected in the deaths of his estranged wife and his mother-in-law was believed to be hiding in an apartment in the northern Denver suburb of Thornton on Friday, and a SWAT team was on the scene, authorities said.

Shots were reportedly fired inside the apartment where 37-year-old Cimmeron Johns was thought to be, officials said, but there was no immediate word on injuries.

Police said they were trying to contact the man inside the apartment. Other residents were evacuated and the public was warned to stay away.

The Weld County Sheriff’s Department said Johns is the primary suspect in the disappearance and deaths of his wife, Alisha Johns, 36, and her mother, Sherri Pachello, 56.

The sheriff’s department said two bodies found south of Frederick in Weld County Friday were the missing women.

Deputies had trouble retrieving one of the bodies because it was in an irrigation canal and water had frozen around it, sheriff’s spokesman Steve Reams said. Temperatures were in the teens in that area Friday morning.

Investigators believe they were kidnapped Thursday after Alisha Johns went to visit her husband at his residence in Fredrick, about 15 miles north of Thornton, and her mother went to pick her up, Reams said.

Pachello called her husband to say her SUV was being chased by a car, Reams said.

Witnesses reported seeing two vehicles speed away from the residence, the second a black Mercedes that matched the description of Cimmeron Johns‘ car.

Investigators believe Pachello’s SUV slid off the road and Cimmeron Johns stopped and commandeered it, Reams said. His Mercedes was found outside of Frederick and Pachello’s Ford Explorer was found Friday afternoon in Thornton.

Cimmeron Johns was wanted on a domestic-violence charge from a separate incident, Reams said.

KMGH-TV reported (https://tinyurl.com/k66h9jv ) the warrant was issued Jan. 28. A Frederick police affidavit submitted to obtain the warrant said Alisha Johns told officers her husband had choked and punched her for two days.

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