Elderly Man Convicted for Gruesome Murder and Dismemberment of Wife and Daughter

An 83-year-old Colorado man, Reginald MacLaren, was convicted on Friday for the brutal murder and dismemberment of his wife and disabled daughter, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. MacLaren was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased body, and false reporting.

MacLaren used an ax to kill his wife, 70-year-old Bethany MacLaren, and his 35-year-old daughter, Ruth Jennifer MacLaren. He then dismembered their bodies with a saw and placed their remains in trash cans he had purchased a week prior from Home Depot.

The gruesome discovery was made on March 25, 2023, when MacLaren contacted the Englewood Police Department claiming that his wife and daughter had been murdered. Upon arrival, officers found two large trash cans in the living room, one containing the dismembered body of his wife and the other his daughter. A large ax was found in a closet and a saw was located next to the trash cans.

Chief Deputy DA Jake Adkins described the crime as a “gruesome and senseless ambush” that MacLaren had planned for weeks. He added, “He violently murdered his wife and daughter and planned to dispose of their bodies like trash.” MacLaren is set to be sentenced on July 11 and faces a mandatory life sentence.

Senior Deputy DA Corrie Caler expressed her sympathy for the victims, stating, “It is difficult to imagine the fear and confusion that these two women endured in their final moments. Ruth and Bethany MacLaren’s lives were needlessly cut short, and we are thankful for the jury in returning a just verdict.”

Englewood police, in collaboration with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Crime Scene Unit and the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office, conducted a joint investigation. They found a Stanley brand hand saw near the garbage cans and observed large amounts of blood throughout the apartment.

Approximately three hours after the initial 911 call, MacLaren confessed to the murders. He claimed he had recently lost his job, was out of money, and killed his family to prevent them from becoming homeless. He provided detailed accounts of the murders, stating he struck his wife and daughter in the head with the ax, rendering them unconscious, before striking each victim two more times.

MacLaren also admitted to dismembering the bodies to fit them into the trash cans. He expressed no regret for his actions, telling police he believed his family was now in a “better place.”

Englewood Police Division Chief Tracy Jones described the crime scene as one of the most gruesome her detectives, some with over 20 years of experience, had ever encountered.