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Suicide attempt delays arrest

Steve Lynn
Vail CO, Colorado

LEADVILLE ” A mother and her daughter attempted suicide Friday afternoon when police came to arrest the mother for her role in an alleged $1.1 million embezzlement scheme, authorities said.

Police were en route to arrest Debra Irwin, 55, of Leadville when a man reported that he found Irwin and her daughter, Maureen Irwin, unconscious on the couch, said Sheriff Ed Holte of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.



Carlos Ray Martinez of Leadville found the women after Maureen Irwin left him a telephone message apologizing “for what she had done,” according to a Leadville Police Department report. Police allegedly found pills and razor blades on a table and the women lying unconscious on the couch, the report stated.

The women were taken to St. Anthony Central Hospital’s intensive care unit in Denver, the report stated. Hospital officials did not return phone calls requesting the patients’ conditions Tuesday.



Detective Doug Winters of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office said he did not know where Debra Irwin was. Sheriff’s deputies would “deal with that afterwards,” Winters said.

“Her well-being was more important to make sure she can recover,” Winters said.

A man who answered Debra’s telephone and said he was Debra’s husband refused to say where she was. He refused to comment on the case.



Irwin embezzled about $1.1 million since at least 1999, said Susan Rollins, owner of the real estate firm Altima Group. Irwin worked for her for 10 years, Rollins said.

“It was a betrayal that was a really painful experience,” she said.

Irwin’s son and daughter, Maureen and Patrick Irwin, also worked for Rollins.

In November 2005, Rollins fired the Irwins when she suspected they embezzled from her profits. Despite that, her business is stronger than ever now, Rollins said.

Police are still investigating ” so far it has lasted 1 and 1/2 years, Winters said. He advised Lake County sheriff’s deputies to arrest Debra Irwin in Leadville, he said.

“When you’re dealing with that amount of money over that amount of time, it takes a longer time to investigate,” he said.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.


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