John Stroud
Post Independent Staff

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July 19, 2013
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Authorities still awaiting lab tests on human remains found in Garfield County

RULISON — Authorities can’t say at this point if the human remains found near a Garfield County road between here and Battlement Mesa last Friday belong to a woman who has been missing since late 2005.

Family members told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Monday that they believe the remains could be those of Mary June Comiskey, who disappeared in that same area on Dec. 17 of that year.

Attempts by the Post Independent to reach the family on Tuesday were not successful.

But Garfield County Sheriff’s Investigator Bill Middleton said it’s too early to speculate on the identity of the remains until the Colorado Bureau of Investigation completes DNA testing.

“Anything is a potential, but we just don’t know until we get the remains identified,” Middleton said. “It’s really just a waiting game now.”

Hikers found the remains on private property a short distance off County Road 309 Friday.

Sheriff’s officials worked with the CBI through the night to collect the remains and investigate the scene.

Garfield County has two missing person cases that have not been solved, including that of Comiskey.

More recently, 26-year-old Paul Cunningham Hodgden of Battlement Mesa disappeared on Feb. 19, 2012, after allegedly getting into a fight at a Parachute restaurant.

Middleton said it’s possible the remains could be related to a case outside of Garfield County as well.

Comiskey, who was 22 at the time of her disappearance and the mother of two children, was last seen around 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 17, 2005, in the Morrisiana Mesa area, in the vicinity of County Roads 301 and 355.

County Road 309, where the remains were found last week, is located just a short distance to the north of those roads, separated by rugged, sage-covered terrain.

Authorities said at the time that they did not believe foul play was involved. Comiskey’s case is profiled on The Charley Project website (www.charleyproject.org), which focuses on missing person cold cases across the United States.

According to a Post Independent article at the time, Comiskey apparently wandered away after she and a half sister had driven to a friend’s residence.

The half sister, identified in the Charley Project profile as Michelle Loudy, went inside and returned to the vehicle a short time later to find Comiskey gone.

“We don’t believe foul play is involved,” Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said at the time.

The Charley Project profile indicates that Comiskey’s live-in boyfriend, Bill Sonnier, showed up at the residence about 10 minutes later, but said he hadn’t seen her.

The report also indicates that Comiskey had become involved with a group of methamphetamine users, and that her behavior had become erratic.

“Authorities stated there is no evidence of foul play in Comiskey’s case, but it’s uncharacteristic of her to leave without warning,” the Charley Project profile states, adding that family members suspect she may have been murdered.

CBI is using the DNA retrieved from the site to identify the remains. Results are not expected to be known for several more days.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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The Sky-Hi News Updated Jul 17, 2013 10:49AM Published Jul 19, 2013 03:16PM Copyright 2013 The Sky-Hi News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.