Friday, May 12, 2000
Steamboat Springs Nick and Vicki Sharp have lived in Steamboat Springs for 20 years without their lives being touched by violence until this week. Sometime Thursday, Lori Bases, a tenant in the two-bedroom apartment that is attached to their garage, was stabbed to death.
Bases moved to Steamboat from California about five years ago, according to her friends. She worked several jobs at different times, including at Alpine Lumber, Mattie Silks restaurant, Steamboat Central Reservations and at Re/Max with her mother, Sherry Mesecher.
Those who knew Bases well described her as a friendly, cheerful woman who was a joy to be around.
Re/Max agent Ron Pollard said Bases was a typical Steamboat resident, working several jobs to make a living.
"She was a very attractive young lady, pleasant, fun, trying to find out what the future had in store for her," Pollard said of the attractive, curly redhead with a pixie face.
Neither Farmer and nor Bases' family could be reached for comment.
Bases shared her apartment with a man named Ron Farmer. Nick Sharp said Friday that Bases was a good tenant who paid her rent on time and he had observed little that might have foreshadowed her violent death. The only sign of trouble, he said, was the fact that Bases' car had been vandalized more than once in the last month.
"It never occurs to you somebody has something going on in their life that could go so wrong," Sharp said. "Or maybe this was a random thing."
Sharp said Bases had recently purchased a new Toyota Rav4, a mini sport utility vehicle. Twice in the last month, it was vandalized tires cut and seats slashed, he said
"It was serious, but she never gave us indications" that something serious was going on, he added.
Sharp said he and Vicki purchased the home in August and moved in November after selling their longtime home in Steamboat II. Bases and Farmer were already tenants in the attached apartment, and they simply renewed their separate leases.
One of the things that attracted the Sharps to the new home was the fact that the only contiguous wall shared by the main house and the rental property is at the rear of the garage.
"It's totally separate," Nick Sharp said.
That arrangement insulates the Sharps from any noise their tenants might make, but in fact, their bedroom isn't far from the apartment.
"I can look right out my bedroom window and at her blinds, 10 feet away," Sharp said. "We didn't hear anything (the night of the murder)."
Farmer does not drive, Sharp said, so he and his wife are accustomed to seeing different vehicles pull up to the house to pick Farmer up and take him places. As far as Sharp could tell, Bases and Farmer were not involved in a relationship, but were platonic roommates.
"They each paid their separate rent they seemed to have separate lives," Sharp said. Bases typically left the apartment by 7 a.m., and was gone for the day, returning at about 5 p.m.
The Sharps were not accustomed to seeing anyone who appeared to be a boyfriend of Bases' visiting the home on a regular basis.
However, Nick Sharp said his wife did notice some irregularities on Thursday. Uncharacteristically, Bases returned home several times during the day. And Vicki Sharp was aware of a vehicle parked in the driveway in the late afternoon or early evening. Nick said Vicki did not think much of it, and did not notice the make or model of the vehicle.
Bases called in sick to Alpine Lumber on Thursday and when she didn't show up on Friday, manager Skip Dierdorff said he assumed she was still sick. Bases started work as an administrative assistant at Alpine Lumber about a month ago.
"We were just starting to get to know her. She was very friendly, we all liked her," Dierdorff said. "It's shocking to us. We're very distracted today and a little puzzled."
Sharp said Farmer left the apartment at midday for work, per usual.
Based on his observations, Sharp surmised the murder may have taken place between "supper and midnight."
Sharp didn't know very much about how his tenant spent her hours away from work.
"We really didn't want to be involved in (his tenants') personal lives," Sharp said. "That can become a problem, when you're friends with your tenants."
He said she kept a pair of skis in the garage, that he believed had not been used last winter. Bases got her bike out of the garage and used it this spring once the snow melted from the streets.
At Christmas, when Bases hosted a party, she consulted with her landlords first, and arranged for her guests to park on the street without blocking the driveway, Sharp said.
Sharp was frustrated as of late Friday morning, because he was being kept in his home when he would have preferred to be on his way to Fort Collins for a daughter's college graduation. Instead, the entire property was ringed by yellow police crime scene tape. Sharp said he had been told he was not to leave until a police captain escorted him off his property.
"My friends are driving by on the street and calling me on the phone. They're asking me, 'who was killed?'" Sharp said. "It's really a weird, weird, weird thing. We really want to get (the car) loaded up and get out of here, and resume our lives."
Sharp was clearly sobered by the events of the previous 24 hours.
"I have a young daughter in high school and it was an eye-opener for her. There are some bad people out there."
Bases was an easygoing, cheerful woman, according to her former boss, Sandra Hogrefe. Hogrefe hired Bases as a seasonal sales agent at Steamboat Central Reservations in August last year.
"She was a great sales person. For several months she was the top-selling agent," Hogrefe said.
Hogrefe recalled that Bases was bright, funny and threw a great Christmas party.
"She had kind of a cynical, sarcastic streak a biting humor," Hogrefe said. "I saw her in the grocery store just a couple of days ago and she was in good spirits."
Bases was a fun person to work with, according to Doug Meinel, a bartender at Mattie Silks.
"She was a blast to be around. She was the one who always had a note on the wall to pick up a shift for somebody," Meinel said. "She was part of the family."
Mattie Silks owner Shelly Stanford said Bases liked to make people laugh.
"She was outgoing, always nice to everybody," Stanford said. "I think she truly cared about everyone."