Victim Date of Birth
Date of Death
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA
Date of Conviction
Body Discovered Date
Harold Henthorn /Devoted Wives, Strong Women, Wrong Husband – Meet Toni Bertolet And Sandra Lynn Rishell
Sandra Lynn Henthorn was a remarkable woman. She loved helping and was always looking for ways to give. She volunteered with orphans and would help inmates pray in prison. She was a devoted Christian. When she met Harold Henthorn, she immediately fell in love. When things started to deteriorate between them, she stayed loyal to him, believing this was what a good wife should do.
Toni Bertolet was similar to Lynn in her will to help and strong belief in god. And just like Lyn, she was immediately hooked on Harold. But she was always described as feisty and independent. She came from a very wealthy yet humble family she always protected. Toni made a name for herself as a successful eye surgeon and had her clinic. But everything changed when she met Harold Henthorn.
“History Repeats Itself” – The Disturbing Resemblance Of Two Suspicious Deaths
Harold Henthorn and Lynn Rishell got married in 1982, and their relationship was flawed from the very core. Harold was controlling, selfish, and mentally abusive towards Lynn; he had a specific, extremely precise method of planning the wedding, but he demanded Lynn do all the hard work for him. Harold was staging and directing every photo they took, and he was eavesdropping on her phone calls.
Harold Henthorn controlled every bit of Lynn’s life. In 1995, they drove next to a cliff near Sedalia, Colorado, when they suddenly had a flat tire. When Harold tried to replace the tire, an improbable, tragic accident took place – Lynn was killed, crushed under the weight of the car that just happened to “slip” off the car jack.
After the so-called accident, Harold Henthorn was quickly back in the dating arena. He was actively looking for a partner… a specific partner… Harold compiled a list from a dating website he visited called Christian matchmaker”.
The list was focused on one particular field; the lady’s income. Harold wanted to make sure whomever he was dating was a devoted Christian and a wealthy woman. That is when he found Toni Bertolet. They chatted through the website until they finally met in 1999, and just a few days after they met in person, they got engaged.
But similar to Lynn’s story, things escalated quickly. Harold Henthorn committed fraud and constantly lied about his financial status; he controlled what Toni was wearing, forced her to move to Colorado and sell her clinic, and even prevented her from using the internet. Toni also had no privacy; Harold routed all the phones to her and listened to them. He took the money her family sent her and put it all into his bank account; he did not allow Toni to have her bank account.
Toni wanted to bounce back on her feet. She wanted her independence back. She decided to open her bank account and get her phone. When Harold Henthorn found out, he lost it. He thought she would leave him and felt he needed to act quickly.
They went camping in the mountains when something eerie happened… Harold Henthorn was cleaning outside their cabin in the middle of the night and asked Toni to come and help him. When Toni came over, she suddenly felt a log hitting her from above, right from the deck Harold stood on. She was severely injured, so they had to call 911. They believed Harold when he said it was an unfortunate accident. Toni was wounded but still alive. Harold wouldn’t accept it.
Horrible Accidents Or A Meticulously Planned Murder? This Is How Harold’s Wives Died
1995: Harold and Lynn Henthorn stopped the car to replace the tire. Harold got the car on a jack and started removing the lug nut when one of them fell under the vehicle. When Harold put the punctured tire in the trunk, Lynn crawled under the car to retrieve the lug nut. That’s when Harold tossed the tire into the trunk, causing the vehicle to slip off the jack and crush Lynn. At least that’s how Harold tells it… The investigation will later reveal a different story.
2012: Toni and Harold go on a 12th-anniversary hike. For some reason, they go off the trail and get to a secluded spot near a cliff. Harold claims he looked at his phone to read a message from the babysitter, but Toni had fallen off the cliff when he looked up. He called 911 but failed to report her severe head injury and heavy bleeding.
Harold Henthorn was the only witness in both cases, so investigators got to work to understand what happened.
The Black Widower – This Is Harold Henthorn’s Story
Born November 14, 1955, in Arlington, Virginia, Harold Henthorn’s outgoing, charming personality was widely known. But in his home, things were different; his father was violent and abusive, and his parents were alcoholics. Harold always dreamed of having a family of his own. He wanted to raise his kids better than he was raised and always said he would never hit a woman or drink alcohol. His charm and smooth talking skills were the things that attracted both Toni and Lynn. But these were also the traits he used to control them.
Harold Henthorn needed to control every little detail of everything he (or his partner) did. He was obsessed with details, whether planning a wedding or murder. But Harold made mistakes; even at his wife’s ceremony, things seemed off with Harold, as told by funeral witnesses. These mistakes would later be used against him as evidence.
After Toni had fallen, Harold left his car with the park rangers, who suspected a certain chance that her death was not an accident. They searched his vehicle and found a map of the area, with an X marked on the spot where Toni had fallen. The disturbing evidence led law enforcement to question Harold. When questioned, his stories started to fall apart; the text message he claimed distracted him from seeing Toni fall was received almost an hour after she had fallen, and he was at a loss for words when shown his map of the site.
During the investigation, Harold told 14 different versions of what happened to Toni. The Bertolet family was working with the park rangers and the FBI to aid with information about Harold. Using phone records, investigators could determine that Harold was at the crime scene several times in the weeks leading up to the murder. They arrested him for Toni Henthorn’s murder but started questioning the investigation findings in the Lynn Rishell case; that investigation is still ongoing and has several results found by Douglas County Sheriff’s office.
Harold Henthorn was charged with first-degree murder and was denied bail since he was considered a flight risk.
On September 8, 2013, his trial began. The prosecution, led by U.S Attorney John Walsh, claimed he did it for insurance money, as shown in the four different life insurance policies Harold purchased for Toni before her death.
On September 21, 2013, Harold Henthorn was found guilty of the first-degree murder charges regarding the death of Toni Bertolet Henthorn. He was sentenced on December 8 that year to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Harold is serving his life sentence in USP Terre Haute and maintains his innocence. He appealed twice, but both appeals were rejected. Judge Brooke Jackson commented on his re-trial request, “Lacks any semblance of merit.” Douglas County Sheriff’s office has reopened the Sandra “Lynn” Henthorn case, and Harold might also stand federal murder trial for those allegations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Harold Henthorn today
Harold Henthorn is serving his mandatory life sentence for murder in USP Terre Haute federal prison.
Who has custody of Haley Henthorn
Barry Bertolet, Toni’s Brother, and his wife Paula now have custody of Haley Henthorn.