Adolph Coors III

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Adolph Coors III
Born(1915-01-12)January 12, 1915
DiedFebruary 9, 1960(1960-02-09) (aged 45)
Education Cornell University
SpouseMary Urquhart Grant (m.1940–1960; his death)
Parent Adolph Coors II (father)
Relatives Adolph Coors (grandfather); William Coors, Joseph Coors (brothers)

Adolph Coors III (January 12, 1915 – February 9, 1960) was the grandson of Adolph Coors and heir to the Coors Brewing Company empire.


Life and career

Coors was born on January 12, 1915, the son of Alice May (née Kistler; 1885–1970) and Adolph Coors Jr. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Like his father and his youngest brother Joseph Coors, Adolph graduated from Cornell University, where he was president of the Quill and Dagger society and a member of the Kappa Alpha Society. Coors was also a semiprofessional baseball player. At the time of his death, he was CEO and chairman of the board of the Coors Brewing Company in Golden, Colorado. [1] Coors married Mary Urquhart Grant in November 1940. The couple had four children together. [2]


The ransom note March 2017- Coors Kidnapping Ransom Note (33460504411).jpg
The ransom note

On February 9, 1960, while on his way to work, Coors was murdered in a failed kidnapping attempt by escaped murderer Joseph Corbett Jr. on Turkey Creek Bridge near Morrison, Colorado. [3]

On the morning of February 9, a milkman discovered Coors' International Travelall on the bridge, empty of occupants and with the radio on. Police identified the vehicle as belonging to Coors, and began a search of the area that turned up Coors' hat, glasses, and a blood stain. [4] [5] The following day, his wife Mary received a ransom note in the mail requesting $500,000 for his safe release. [6] The hunt for Coors and his assailant was the largest FBI effort since the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. [5]

On September 11, 1960, a hiker by the name of Edward Lee Greene Jr. stumbled upon a pair of discarded trousers in the Rocky Mountains, and found in the pocket a penknife bearing the initials 'ACIII'. [7] Then on September 15, 1960, a shirt belonging to Coors, and his skull, were found in a remote area near Pikes Peak. [8] [9]

A witness turned up that revealed he had seen a yellow 1951 Mercury with the letters "AT" and numerals "62" somewhere in the license plate combination on the bridge around the time of Coors' disappearance. [10] A car matching the description was found torched in a dump in Atlantic City, New Jersey. [10] Investigators traced the car back to a Colorado resident named Walter Osborne, who suspiciously moved out of his Denver apartment the day after the kidnapping. The name "Walter Osborne" was revealed to be an alias for Corbett. [4] Due to international obsession with the case, including a picture of Corbett in an issue of Reader's Digest , Corbett was recognized by two neighbors in Vancouver, BC, and was arrested. [11]

February 10, 1960 cover of the Rocky Mountain News February 10, 1960 cover of the Rocky Mountain News.jpg
February 10, 1960 cover of the Rocky Mountain News

As no witnesses were found, prosecutors built their case against Corbett through circumstantial and forensic evidence. Corbett's coworkers overheard him talking about a plan that would earn him over a million dollars and the ransom note typeface was traced back to Corbett's typewriter. [10] The biggest piece of evidence, however, was the soil found in the undercarriage of the yellow Mercury. Investigators were able to trace the car's path by noting the rare pink feldspar and granite minerals found in the area Coors' body was discovered. [10] Corbett was convicted of first-degree murder on March 29, 1961, and sentenced to life in state prison. [10] He was released on parole in 1980 for good behavior and drove a truck for the Salvation Army until he retired. [12] He died by suicide at the age of 80 in August 2009. [13] He lived and died just 10 miles from where he killed Coors and always maintained his innocence. [11]

The kidnapping was featured in the Forensic Files episode "Bitter Brew". The 2017 true crime book The Death of an Heir: Adolph Coors III and the Murder That Rocked an American Brewing Dynasty by Phillip Jett details the kidnapping.


An avid skier, Coors was inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1998. [14]

See also

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  1. Dutcher, Brandon (April 1994). "For Adolph Coors IV, Money Couldn't Fill the Emptiness Inside". Double Dutch. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  2. "1996 interview with Joe Corbett". The Denver Post. 2009-08-25. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  3. "Denver Brewer Coors Missing; Fear Kidnap. Deserted Car, Motor On, Found". Los Angeles Times . February 10, 1960. Retrieved 2010-07-15. Adolph Coors III, wealthy brewer and industrialist, vanished from his blood-flecked vehicle on a rural road yesterday, touching off a vast manhunt in the Rocky Mountain foothills west of Denver...
  4. 1 2 "A Look Back at the Coors Kidnapping Case". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  5. 1 2 "How an Escaped Convict Terrorized the Coors Beer Dynasty". Vice. 2017-09-19. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  6. "The Death of an Heir: Adolph Coors III and the Murder That Rocked an American Brewing Dynasty". Longreads. 2017-09-26. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  7. Moore, James (2018). Murder by Numbers - Fascinating Figures Behind The World's Worst Crimes. History Press. p. 127. ISBN   9780750981453.
  8. "The way it was: Today in history - Sept. 15". 2016-10-19. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  9. "Crime History: Coors brewery heir killed in botched kidnap attempt". Washington Examiner. 2011-02-08. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 Bovson, Mara. "The case of Adolph Coors". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  11. 1 2 Eddy, Cheryl. "On the Run From One Murder, He Accidentally Committed Another—And Joined the FBI's "Most Wanted" List". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  12. "Ex-convict, 80, who killed Coors scion takes his own life". The Seattle Times. 2009-08-27. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  13. "Coors killer Corbett takes his own life". The Denver Post. 2009-08-25. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  14. "Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame" . Retrieved September 25, 2010.