Digital Access

Digital Access
Access and all Shaw Media Illinois content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, Daily including the e-Edition or e-Edition only.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more. Text alerts are a free service from, but text rates may apply.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.

Texas man gets 44 years for strangling Rock Falls camper

ROCK FALLS – A 27-year-old Texas man was sentenced to 44 years in prison for last year's murder of a Rock Falls man strangled while camping in the Colorado Rockies.

The body of John H. "Pete" Cumby Jr., 62, was found Sept. 13, 2017, in a wooded, mountainous area in rural Gilpin County, in the Rollinsville area about an hour west of Denver.

A little more than a year later, on Sept. 21, fugitive Jeffrey Mason Maynard pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, motor vehicle theft and two counts of identity theft.

He was sentenced Nov. 30.

Maynard, of Cypress, Texas, was wanted on charges of theft and attempted arson at the time of his arrest around 9 a.m. that Sept. 10 in a traffic stop on Interstate 84 near Boise – 800 miles away from the campsite.

He was driving Cumby's van, and had Cumby's cellphone, wallet, identification and other personal items.

According to court records, cellphone activity typical of Cumby last was seen on Aug. 27. There was no activity on Aug. 28, but the next day, searches for articles on "how to plead insanity, how to act insane, fake being insane, how people fake insanity and give themselves away, insanity test, hospital for criminally insane, sociopath world, Asperger's as a defense, 10 uses of criminal defense, insanity and the death plea, and Rollinsville/Gilpin County breaking news," were found in the phone's history, the Boulder Daily Camera reported.

In addition, GPS data from a photo of a campsite on Cumby's phone led Idaho detectives to Gilpin County, where an investigator recognized the campsite.

When deputies searched the site on Sept. 13, they found Cumby's body nearby, in heavy brush off a lightly used trail.

A DNA test also found traces of Maynard's blood on Cumby's shirt.

When detectives attempted to talk to Maynard, he told them he would tell them where to find Cumby's body if they declared him unfit to stand trial, then detectives told him they already had found the body, the Daily Camera reported.

Cumby, a 1972 Rock Falls High grad and Navy veteran, left Rock Falls for Colorado in mid-August. His family expected him home in early September but became concerned when they didn't hear from him.

His mother, Mellie Crowe of Rock Falls, filed a missing person complaint with Rock Falls police on Sept. 10, after Ada County, Idaho investigators contacted her about Maynard's arrest.

In addition to his mother, Cumby also is survived by a son, John Cumby III of Denver; a daughter, Rosie Cumby of Lakewood, Colorado; his stepmother, Linda Cumby; brother, Steve Cumby; and sister Pamela Davis, all of Tampico; as well as sisters Vickie Huffman of Rock Falls, and Tammy Naftzger of Deland, Florida.

Another sister, Josephine A. “Jo” Gaskill, 66, of Tampico, died Aug. 29.

Loading more