Kenia Monge, like so many before her, was a young woman who went out for a night of fun with friends and paid for it with her life. Colorado resident that she was, she still had a bit to learn about the unseen dangers of the Colorado social scene, particularly when it comes to bars. Kenia, a vibrant nineteen-year-old, lost her life for simply wanting to have a good time with friends in a world that is constantly hurting women. Fort Collins, Colorado, is a known college town, filled with young women exactly like Kenia. This story acts as a disturbing reminder of the dangers a young woman can face when she steps out for a night of fun.
An Evening Out
In so many ways, Kenia was every bit the fun-loving nineteen-year-old that you would expect. In April 2011, Kenia went out for a fun night with the girls, but unlike her friends, it was one that she would not come back from. The night would take a disturbing turn somewhere between Kenia dancing and meeting a new person.
Her evening was completely normal. Kenia and a group of friends headed out for a night out ion the town complete with drinking and laughing. From a distance, Kenia’s friends spotted her dancing happily with a guy at the bar. One minute she was there, and the next she was gone, leaving her friends panicked and wondering where she would possibly slip off to without her phone or purse.
Kenia’s friends knew that it was strange that she would simply disappear, but they hoped that their friend had just gotten swept up in a night of fun. When she didn’t return home, her friends and family began to worry. No one knew where Kenia was. She had never surfaced after wandering off that night.
After receiving a report of her missing, police began to search for evidence of where she could have gone. Footage from nearby security cameras later showed Kenia looking incredibly unsteady and unwell. Based on the footage, police believed that she had been drugged. Her behavior surpassed what you would expect from a drunk teen having fun. She seemed out of control.
The footage also revealed something disturbing: Kenia appeared to have wandered off from her friends alone. Whether it was the drugs, alcohol, or both, Kenia left the nightclub looking confused and incredibly lost until she turned up at a nearby hotel.
At some point in the night, Kenia ran into Travis Forbes and one of his friends. In his original version of events, Forbes claimed that he had offered to give her a ride home but that she had run off with a fellow smoker when Forbes stopped to get gas, never to be seen again. Police looked into Forbes because he had texted Kenia’s phone that night claiming to have given her a ride and asking if she was safe.
Police began to suspect that Forbes was lying about his version of the story. When they inspected his car, it smelled like bleach and clearly had brand new carpet installed. Security footage of Forbes hauling a large cooler into his bakery made them even more worried.
After further evidence was obtained and Forbes was clearly caught, the confession poured out. Forbes admitted to offering to give Kenia a ride. He reportedly dropped off his friend, then proceeded to rape Kenia when she fell unconscious from the alcohol in her system. She awoke and began to fight him and Forbes responded by strangling her. He stored Kenia in a freezer before burying her in a shallow grave near the area.
What is most disturbing about this turn of events is that Kenia was not at all Forbes’ only victim. In fact, when he was arrested, another victim of his was spending her fifth week in a hospital, comatose. Lydia Tillman was able to survive the encounter, but only barely. According to Lydia, Forbes had assaulted her, beating her severely when she fought back, and then doused her and her entire apartment with bleach before lighting the apartment on fire. With an unimaginable degree of grit, Lydia was able to throw herself from her second-floor window down to paramedics as the building burned.
In the end, Lydia has made a recovery through extensive medical efforts and physical therapy. She is aware of the fact that she just barely escaped the grasp of a man who was all too eager to kill. Forbes has been sentenced to life in prison after being offered a plea in which they would not seek the death penalty. He should not be released on the streets again in his lifetime, leaving us all a little safer at night.