May 10, 2022 • 42M

The Monsters Among Us

An in-depth recap of the Jacobo Mendoza 'Kovo' Case before his disposition hearing later this month.

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Colorado's Counter Culture Magazine. Covering local arts, music, writing, local breaking news, deep-dive investigative articles, and podcasts based in Estes Park by Journalist, Author, and Artist Jason Van Tatenhove.
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In today’s episode of the Colorado Switchblade, I have an in-depth recap of the Jacobo Mendoza 'Kovo' Case before his disposition hearing later this month. I even dig into my old notes to talk about a few details that were not mentioned during my previous reporting with the Trail-Gazette and Colorado Switchblade.

For those that may not be familure with the story out of Estes Park, CO. Here is a summary.

Estes Park local Jacobo Wright Mendoza, known locally as Kovo, was arrested for the attempted murder, kidnapping, and sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl Last Summer.

On July 15, at approximately 12:23 p.m., the Larimer County Communications Center received an emergency request for law enforcement assistance via radio broadcast from a volunteer firefighter at the Glen Haven Fire Station at 7320 County Road 43. The broadcast was based on a report to the fire department from a Good Samaritan witness.

The witness saw a black Chevy sedan parked in the middle of County Road 43 with a male and female standing outside and behind the vehicle. The witness said the female was in distress and was yelling for help. The witness slowed his vehicle and turned around to provide what aid he could. As the witness approached the female, she ran to and entered the witness’s vehicle. He immediately drove to the fire station for help.

While the girl and the witness were at the fire station seeking help, the male suspect in the black Chevy arrived and intentionally crashed into the witness’ vehicle. Both the witness and the firefighter saw the male suspect take the girl from the witness vehicle and violently physically assault her. The Good Samaritan and a fire department member intervened and restrained the suspect until an LCSO deputy arrived.

I began an investigation into the incident and found that the suspect is the owner and registering agent of Estes Escape Rooms LLC, a business entity registered with the Colorado Department of State (CDOS).

I also have reached out to previous employers of Mendoza who wish to remain anonymous. According to the employer and several other previous co-workers, Mendoza often surrounded himself with young women, scheduling only women to work on shifts with him. Community members also reported that Mendoza had been regularly seen smoking marijuana with young underage women. The employer states that Mendoza was let go from his job during the COVID lockdowns due to ongoing complaints from co-workers. Mendoza was also involved in local theater community productions, where witnesses said Mendoza was prone to violent outbursts of yelling at people and hitting walls in front of co-workers and audience members.

According to eyewitness accounts, search warrants were executed at several locations locally, including the Estes Escape Rooms, located at 541 Big Thompson Ave., Building P, Unit C., and at the suspect’s home and an adjoining property

After news broke of the arrest, there was a flurry of social media posts. Many young members of the Estes Valley community came forward stating that they also had been groomed, victimized, or know of other young women who may have been victimized.

In other case developments, Hinojos stated at a bond hearing that the video evidence found on Mendoza's phone and other devices contained sexual content, including several items of "inappropriate sexual kissing and touching." Multiple pieces of electronic and video equipment had been removed from Mendoza's place of business, The Escape Room in Estes Park, and/or his Estes Valley community residence.

During the proceedings, the prosecutor quoted Mendoza as saying, "What they found on my cell phone will get me killed."

Currently, Mendoza is in custody at the Larimer County Jail, where he is eligible to put up a $500,000 cash bond (meaning the entirety of the bond will need to be paid in cash) for him to be released.

According to the Larimer County District Attorney, this case is set for a Disposition Hearing on 5/23/22 at 2:00 p.m. in courtroom 4C.  

Support resources are available for victims locally through the Estes Valley Crisis Advocates (EVCA), which provide free and confidential services to survivors of crime and trauma and their families. Services are available 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You can reach them via phone at (970) 577-9781 or through their website

The charges are merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Links to my previous reporting:

The Colorado Switchblade
Former Estes Escape Room owner denied bond reduction.
Read more

Here is some great reporting on the good samaritan who is credited with helping to save the young victim’s life: ‘Pretty Intense’: Glen Haven Firefighter Recognized For Saving Teenage Girl During Violent Attack

Today’s podcast is sponsored by: