Woman charged with assault for alleged suffocation attempt
Aspen Times Staff Writer
A woman was arrested on the Front Range Monday for allegedly trying to suffocate a woman in Aspen three weeks ago.
Rye Nancy Eileen Newton, 54, was arrested by Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies after Pitkin County authorities issued an arrest warrant.
Newton, a transient, is charged with second-degree assault, menacing and third-degree assault after she allegedly covered a woman’s mouth with an ammonia-soaked towel as the woman slept. The first two charges are felonies.
Amber Schroeder, 21, told police she fought off her attacker while gasping for air and screaming for help. Schroeder was living with her mother, Marlene, at the time of the attack, and they told police they had been giving Newton temporary shelter, but had a recent “falling out.”
According to the arrest affidavit, on the morning of Jan. 8, police received a report of an attempted homicide and responded to the Schroeder home. Officers allegedly found a white hand towel on the corner of Amber’s bed, next to an overturned lamp.
The younger Schroeder told police she was sleeping that morning when she felt a wet towel suddenly cover her face, and felt hands holding the towel over her mouth and nose so that she could not breathe.
She said she thought her attacker also tried to cover her mouth with a rubber glove, but the assailant eventually left the room via a sliding-glass door. Amber said she ran upstairs to tell her mother’s roommate about the incident, and the roommate called police.
Schroeder told police she was “definitely positive” her attacker was Newton, because although she could not see the person during the attack, she did catch a glimpse while the person was leaving her room. She said the attack was probably prompted because Newton was “jealous” of her.
Marlene Schroeder told police that she has known Newton for 20 years, and that they had a “falling out” several years ago. She said she has not known Newton to be violent or threatening. But she said Newton has been paranoid and tells her about her experiences with UFO abductions and “robot people.”
She also said Newton had stayed at her house about four or five times between November and January, and believed that since she knew where a spare key to the unit was, she snuck in and stayed at the house the night before the attack.
Later that morning Newton was found near Highlands Villas, the apartment complex where the Schroeders live. Although she claimed to not be familiar with the unit where the attack took place, witnesses told police they had seen Newton near there several times before and assumed she was staying in the area.
According to the arrest affidavit, Newton denied being at the Schroeder residence, but said a “group” from the “dark side” has been trying to enlist her, and has flattened her car’s tires and blown up three of her car’s engines. She said she believes the “group” controls most police officers.
A representative from Aspen Mental Health evaluated Newton, and determined that she was not a threat to herself or others. Newton left the area after speaking with police and was not arrested until Monday.
Newton was being held at the Douglas County Jail, but will be transported to the Pitkin County Jail within the coming week unless she posts bond, which is set at $13,500.
[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is email@example.com]
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