Lakewood man, son die in plunge six years after murder in family |

Lakewood man, son die in plunge six years after murder in family

James Blissett and son, Jessy, who died Monday when their Jeep plunged off a cliff

Oct. 20 has been a date haunted by tragedy for the Blissett family.

After midnight Monday on that date, James Blissett Jr. became upset at a hunting camp with family members, grabbed his 9-year- old son Jessy and drove off in his Jeep on a treacherous mountain trail in Garfield County.

The 41-year-old Lakewood man lost control on a narrow trail in the darkness and his left wheels slipped over the edge of Windy Point, a 10,218-foot overlook.

The Jeep plunged into the abyss, carrying father and son to their deaths.

Six years earlier, on Oct. 20, 2002, Blissett’s father, Jimmy Dale “Big Jim” Blissett, was shot from behind at his Wheat Ridge plumbing business by a killer who has never been caught.

Jim Jr., who took over the plumbing shop, offered an unusual message to his dad’s killer at the time.

“We forgive this person,” Jim Jr. told the Rocky Mountain News days after the slaying.

Jim Jr. explained that he and his siblings were living up to how Big Jim raised his Christian clan.

“The reason we forgive him is because we feel sorry for him because he is the one who has to live with this forever,” the son said. “It is a hard thing to do, to forgive, but we know it’s the right thing to do.”

Now, the Blissett family is again struggling with a challenge – comprehending the loss of another generation’s father and his son on a painful anniversary.

“It was six years to the day that his dad died,” Jim Jr.’s wife, Melissa, said Wednesday of the fatal crash.

She was hurriedly preparing for family members arriving in town for her husband’s and son’s funeral service, set for 1 p.m. Monday at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada.

She confirmed that her husband was agitated when he left his brother-in-law and two nephews at the hunting camp.

The wife declined to explain why Jim Jr. had driven off with his son on the zig-zagging off-road trail in the middle of the night.

She said she’s waiting for an investigation by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office to bring clarity to the murky details of the tragedy.

A preliminary autopsy on Tuesday confirmed that the father and son, who were thrown out as the Jeep tumbled down the cliff, died from blunt-force trauma, said Deputy Coroner Chandra Mortensen.

Investigators are still interviewing family members and awaiting a toxicology test results before commenting further, said Deputy Tanny McGinnis, the sheriff’s spokeswoman.

The tests, which could take weeks, would reveal whether alcohol, drugs or prescription medication played a role in the fatal plunge off Windy Point.

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