Inmate accused of murdering Colorado mountain bike legend

Charles Moises Gonzales mugshot
Charles Moises Gonzales’ booking photo. Photo: Courtesy of Colorado Bureau of Investigation

Police in Colorado announced Monday that they have issued an arrest warrant for the man who is suspected of murdering and disposing of the body of mountain biking pioneer Mike Rust seven years ago.

RELATED: Human remains identified as missing mountain bike legend

Charles Moises Gonzales, a 46-year-old inmate of the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility in CaƱon City, Colorado was identified as the primary suspect in the mysterious disappearance of Rust. Human remains were found on the property of Gonzales back in January and identified by examiners as belonging to Rust in April.

Gonzales was served his arrest warrant in the correctional facility, where he is currently serving nine years for two separate drug and weapons convictions, according to The Gazette. He now faces charges including first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

“I don’t have to wonder so much about what if,” Rust’s younger brother, Marty Rust, told The Gazette, saying the warrant has brought the family closure. “It has brought major change to the family.”

Rust’s family long suspected he had been murdered after the last contact he made with his girlfriend in 2009. He phoned her angrily to tell her he was going after someone who had broken into and burglarized his house in Saguache County. He was never heard from again.

Mountain Bike legend Mike Rust body identified
Mike Rust (above) was well known in the mountain biking world. Photo: Courtesy of Grit & Thistle

An autopsy report performed by the El Paso County Coroner’s Office following the discovery of his remains found that Rust died of a gunshot wound to the back of his head.

According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the amount of evidence against Gonzales, who has been in and out of jail since 1990, is significant.

Gonzales insisted to investigators that Rust had falsely accused him of breaking into his home and chased Gonzales back to Gonzales’ residence on his dirt bike, firing his gun at Gonzales’ pickup truck along the way. Gonzales said that a struggle ensued between the two and Rust’s gun went off, killing Rust.

But that story didn’t account for how Rust ended up with a bullet in the back of his head.

Gonzales’ own son told investigators he was afraid his father was capable of murder after Gonzales told him he had killed four people in the past as a major member of a New Mexico gang. Furthermore, a letter Gonzales wrote to his wife from jail detailed the location of Rust’s dead body, and how he planned to tell investigators about it upon his release from jail to collect a $25,000 reward.

Known as “Mike the Bike” in the mountain biking world, Rust was a seminal figure in the advancement of the sport, known for his role in designing some of the earliest versions of modern-day mountain bikes back in the 1960’s. He was inducted into the Mountain Biking Hall of Fame in 1991.

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