Human bones recently recovered in the area of Thunderbolt Creek in the Indian Peaks Wilderness have been identified as Patricia Wallace, 74, of Lafayette.
The remains were first discovered in the Indian Peaks Wilderness on Aug. 9 by the Sippel family from Sante Fe, N.M. The family discovered the bones while searching for a campsite in the area along Thunderbolt Creek.
Search and rescue and local law enforcement began searching the area and additional human remains. Clothing and accessories were located. Identification located inside a backpack found near the remains was that of Patricia Wallace.
The search for Wallace began on July 3, 2012, when the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and Grand County Search and Rescue received a report of a missing hiker.
Wallace was hiking with friends in the Buchanan Pass Trail area. She separated from her hiking party to continue on a trail she thought would be easier.
Both Grand and Boulder County Search and Rescue continued their search for Patricia over a span of 13 days. The search included multi-jurisdictional teams from the Front Range. Teams conducted day searches and some overnight searches with dog teams, all of which were unsuccessful.
On Friday, Aug. 15, Grand County Search and Rescue sent a seven member search team into the field. The members located multiple bones suspected to be human remains. Additional items found by the search team included clothing matching the description of missing hiker Patricia Wallace and the backpack containing Wallace’s identification.
Grand County Coroner Brenda Bock worked with Forensic Anthropologist Diane France to determine if the bones are consistent with human remains of a Caucasian female.
Coroner Bock will also submit samples for DNA confirmation. At this time, Coroner Brenda Bock has notified the family of Wallace and believes the remains to be hers.