TOLEDO, Ore. — On Feb. 28, a Lincoln County Grand Jury indicted a former Toledo, Ore. and Post Falls resident for the nearly 20 year old homicide of his infant daughter.
Denver J. Hart, 48, who is currently serving a life sentence in Idaho for the murder of Boundary County resident Michael Rocha, admitted to taking the life of his four month old daughter, Kristen Casey-Lynn Hart. Kristen’s death occurred on Nov. 18, 1997 inside of the Hart’s family residence in Toledo. The investigation into the death of Kristen was originally closed in 1997 and labeled as a case of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
The investigation was re-opened in July of 2016 when a family member of Kristen’s brought forth information implicating Hart was responsible for the homicide. Meanwhile, a detective from the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office made contact with Toledo detectives with information pertaining to Kristen’s death which he had learned from monitoring Hart’s inmate mail while he was in custody in the Boundary County Jail.
With the assistance of the BCSO, Toledo Detective Aaron Pitcher travelled to Boundary County and arranged an interview with Hart. During that interview, Hart provided a verbal and written confession admitting responsibility for the death of Kristen.
Hart also sent a letter to Lincoln County District Attorney Michelle Branam detailing his involvement in Kristen’s death.
Boundary County District Court Judge Barbara Buchanan imposed a life sentence November 2016 after Hart pleaded guilty to the murder of his stepfather. Rocha, 58, went missing Nov. 8, 2015 after he reached out to law enforcement, stating that his stepson was trying to kill him. Boundary County detectives located Rocha’s burned remains on Nov. 20, 2015 during a search warrant of his property in the Deep Creek area.
Hart also received a second life sentence for a lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor charge out of Kootenai County which involved an autistic juvenile victim.