Chadwick McConnell, 25, a distant cousin of Michael Spell, said Waters started a conversation with one of his friends at the complex and offered him work as a roofer. With jobs in the nearby gas and oil fields more difficult to get, McConnell said he and three others, Spell included, jumped at the chance to get paid in cash.
But working with Waters proved difficult. He would often tell McConnell, Spell and other workers to be at a location at 7 a.m., then not show up until around noon, failing to answer his cellphone.
"He's the kind of guy who'd talk to you and make you believe he's your friend," McConnell said. "But he won't live up to any of the things he says."
Waters told Michael Spell the jobs in the oil fields in North Dakota were a sure thing, Harry Spell and Cruz said. Waters also tried to recruit another man to travel with them but he declined.
Spell "was going down there for work, and he was going to be making money to support us," Cruz said. "He didn't know there was nothing down there."
When Spell left Colorado, he was awaiting arraignment on charges that he encouraged a middle school student to text other students and ask them if they wanted to buy marijuana. He reportedly told the judge in the case his brother had been in a car accident in Texas.
Barry and Nadine McConnell, the parents of Angel Cruz, described Spell as a person who wants to be helpful.
But getting a straight story out of him was always difficult, Barry McConnell said, especially when they asked him whether he would get a job to help support his son.
"He would talk in riddles," Barry McConnell said, adding that at some point they stopped believing anything he said.
Nadine McConnell says she is angry, astonished and horrified.
"To think that I let him into my house, I fed him, invited him to birthday parties," she said.
Banda reported from Parachute, Colo.
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