Human bones found in Indian Peaks | SkyHiNews.com

Human bones found in Indian Peaks

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.

Search suspended for hiker missing in Indian Peaks

Grand and Boulder County officials decided Monday to suspend the search for Patricia Wallace, 74, of Lafayette, who has been missing in the Indian Peaks Wilderness since July 3. After almost two weeks of searching for the lost hiker the two crews have exhausted their resources and leads and are suspending the search pending development of further leads, said Greg Foley, public information officer for Grand County Search and Rescue. Crews spent the past weekend searching the area by horseback but still could find no sign of the lost woman. Wallace was last seen by hikers near the top of Buchanan Pass around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3, heading away from the trailhead on the Boulder side where she was supposed to meet her friends. Wallace was reported as possibly suffering from the early stages of dementia and minor memory lapses. Wallace will remain a missing person and the case will be considered inactive until further leads are established.

Hiker still missing in Indian Peaks

Grand County Search and Rescue members left Wednesday morning with 16-member crew and two search dogs to continue the search for Patricia Wallace, the 74-year-old woman who has been missing in the Indian Peaks Wilderness since July 3. A private helicopter flew rescuers into the wilderness area, and the crew was scheduled to hike out on Thursday afternoon. As of Thursday afternoon, Wallace no solid clues about Wallace’s whereabouts had been found, according to GCSAR spokesman Greg Foley. Wallace of Lafayette, who officials report is likely suffering from early stages of dementia, separated from her group to take a different route on the lower part of the Buchanan Pass Trail in Indian Peaks Wilderness on the Boulder side of the Continental Divide. Wallace was last spotted by hikers near the top of Buchanan Pass around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3, heading away from the trailhead where she was supposed to meet her friends. Buchanan Pass is about 9 miles east of Monarch Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The Grand County Search and Rescue command headquarters is located at Monarch Lake close to one of the west entrances of the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Search parties look for missing hiker

Grand County Search and Rescue members are coordinating with Boulder rescue teams in the search for a missing 74-year-old female hiker. Pat Wallace of Louisville, who officials report likely suffers from early stages of dementia, separated from her hiking partners to take a different route on the lower part of the Buchanan Pass Trail from the Boulder side on Tuesday, July 3, with arrangements to meet up with her party at the trailhead later, according to Grand County Search and Rescue Spokesperson Greg Foley. But Wallace was last spotted by hikers near the top of Buchanan Pass heading toward Grand County around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the opposite direction from the trailhead. Buchanan Pass is about 9 miles east of Monarch Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. She was reported as missing at around 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Wallace is described as having dark brown hair, hazel eyes, and is about 5 feet, 5 inches tall. She was last seen wearing a large floppy hat and knee length shorts. She typically hikes with trekking poles. “We had teams in the field all Tuesday night and through the day on Wednesday,” Foley said. Besides ground teams looking for Wallace in both Grand and Boulder counties, a Colorado Air National Guard helicopter team is also searching the pass area, according to Foley. “We have rescue teams on standby in the event that the helicopter is successful in spotting Wallace,” he said. “In the event the helicopter is unsuccessful, ground teams are ready to do some additional ground search on the Grand County side of Buchanan Pass.” Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Wallace should contact the Grand County Sheriff’s Office at 970-725-3343, or the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office at 303-441-4444.

Search continues for 74-year-old hiker missing in Indian Peaks Wilderness

Grand County Search and Rescue and Rocky Mountain Rescue Group out of Boulder continued the search Tuesday for Patricia Wallace, the 74-year-old woman who has now been missing since July 3. Wallace of Lafayette, who officials report is likely suffering from early stages of dementia, separated from her group to take a different route on the lower part of the Buchanan Pass Trail in Indian Peaks Wilderness from the Boulder side last Tuesday, and has now been missing for seven days. The search crew now consists of 16 people and two dogs who are scheduled to be taken into the search area by helicopter on Wednesday morning. NOAA forecasters predict a 10 to 30 percent chance of thunderstorms for the rest of the week, which may deter the search for the woman. Wallace was last spotted by hikers near the top of Buchanan Pass around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3, heading away from the trailhead where she was supposed to meet her friends. Buchanan Pass is about 9 miles east of Monarch Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. – Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610

Bones found in Fraser River probably from cremated remains

GRANBY – An angler found human dental remains in the Fraser River on Friday, Sept. 3, but following an investigation that involved the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Granby police say portions of human jaw are not likely from a missing person. “It appears that someone probably dumped an urn of cremated remains off of the foot bridge,” said Granby Police Chief Bill Housley. The area where the remains were found had been taped off on Friday as investigators searched the Fraser River for a possible human body that may have washed up or was buried in the river in Granby. A human jaw bone was found under the foot bridge located between Kaibab Park and the fire station, according to Housley. Police guess someone dumped the remains sometime after the spring runoff. The remains have been sent away for forensic analysis, Housley said. “There’s still an outside chance the remains are of some long-lost missing person; it’s always possible,” the chief said. “But it doesn’t seem likely with the number of items located in the same place. Looks like those remains were placed right there in that location relatively recently.” According to Grand County Coroner Brenda Bock, depositing cremated remains in the river is not an illegal act as long as no trespassing on private property occurs during the process. Granby police officers hope to hear from anyone who has information about the case. If it was a case of scattering cremated remains in the river, Housley said, the scatterer will not be charged with any crime. “We would just like to confirm that is what it was,” he said.

Mammoth discovery puts Snowmass in spotlight

SNOWMASS VILLAGE – A hairy, prehistoric elephant brought the circus to Snowmass Village on Wednesday. A Snowmass Water and Sanitation board meeting drew a packed crowd to a room at the Snowmass Club, where a selection of bones from a prehistoric mammoth were put on display for curious onlookers. Fascinated kids and adults, a class of schoolchildren, reporters and television news crews filed past the collection of giant, coffee-colored bones, recently unearthed from a reservoir excavation project just west of town. The board has not yet decided what to do with the remains of the creature; another meeting is scheduled Monday, but the Denver Museum of Nature and Science appears to be the most likely repository for the bones. The museum has offered to handle excavation of the sensitive site, and take the bones to Denver where they can be preserved in a controlled atmosphere. The bones have not been fossilized – turned to stone, in other words – but remain soft and porous, in much the same shape they were in when the mammoth was encased in a peat bog some 10,000-plus years ago. On Wednesday, Water and Sanitation employees were spraying the specimens on display with distilled water from time to time to keep them moist. For now, they are being stored in dark plastic and kept damp, in a cool place. Yet to be determined is whether the animal is a Columbian mammoth or the much rarer woolly mammoth, according to Ian Miller, paleontologist and chairman of the museum’s Earth Sciences Department. “There are no known woolly mammoths from Colorado yet,” he said. The museum’s mammoth expert, Steve Holen, is expected to return to Denver from the Yukon on Saturday, and will then head to Snowmass Village if the museum takes on the project, Miller said. Holen will be able to determine which type of mammoth it is by examining its teeth and bone structure. Either way, the discovery of a mammoth is a “significant scientific find,” said Bob Mutaw, cultural resources team leader for URS, the engineering firm involved in the reservoir project. “We’ve never found something this complete at high elevation,” Miller agreed. The site is at about 8,800 feet. Mutaw estimated 20 percent of the skeleton has been recovered thus far; he hopes a complete or nearly complete mammoth will be unearthed. The size of the bones indicate the animal was not full grown, Mutaw said. If the museum is brought in, it will create a cast of the mammoth that the town can display, according to Miller. The actual bones would still be accessible to the public. “They would be on display in our preparation lab – right away,” Miller said. Carbon dating, in an attempt to determine the age of the bones, would be done, and it may be possible to obtain a DNA sample from them, he added. The museum already has, in its collection, a prehistoric animal discovered near Snowmass Village – a 13-foot long predatory fish, an Xiphactinus, found in 1967. The town should have a cast of the big fish, as well, Miller said. The town also received a letter of interest in handling the mammoth from Sunshine Services in Frederick, Colo., which offered to dig out the bones and produce an exhibit. At present, the site where the bones were found is enclosed in a chain-link fence and guarded 24 hours a day. Concrete blankets protect the ground from freezing. The site and surrounding construction zone are not open to the public. URS planned to use ground-penetrating radar within the 2,500-square-foot, fenced-in area on Wednesday in an attempt to locate other bones, and to search other areas of the exposed peat bog as well. The equipment detects objects that differ in density from the surrounding material. Mutaw, however, said he doubts other animals will be discovered. “Finding a fossil is always a one-in-a-million thing,” he said. “The real kicker would be to find this site was associated with prehistoric human occupation.” That would mean finding a tool, for example, or some other evidence of human presence. Time is of the essence in unearthing the mammoth, as winter is on the way, Mutaw noted. The work will take two to four weeks, he estimated. The dig site will be covered with a tent to help protect it from the elements. “We feel a little bit of urgency – it is mid-October,” he said. The bones were discovered a week ago, when a Gould Construction bulldozer operator noticed something unusual in the soil he was moving. He immediately stopped his machine and notified his supervisor. Kit Hamby, Water and Sanitation District manager, came out to take a look first thing Friday morning. “We all stood around a pile of bones, just mesmerized by what we were seeing,” he said. After news of the discovery broke on Monday, the office phones started ringing off the hook, Hamby said. “Since then, it has just been kind of a whirlwind,” he said. “There’s been a lot of interest in this.” Wednesday, the heavy machinery continued to grind away at Ziegler Reservoir, working around the discovery zone. A layer of clay has been scraped from the drained reservoir, revealing the dark, loamy peat – in itself a treat to Miller, who examined what he estimated was 12,000-year-old plant material compressed into soft layers. The clay prevented oxygen from seeping through to the peat layer, preserving the mammoth. Now that the clay has been stripped off, exposing the area to freezing and thawing, and drying out the earth, it’s important to find whatever the peat holds, according to Mutaw. The Snowmass Village Water and Sanitation District purchased the reservoir property in 2005 for $3.5 million and plans to quadruple its capacity, at a cost of $6 million, to serve the resort’s future water-storage needs, according to Hamby. The old reservoir contained about 11 surface acres of water, he said. The project is expected to be finished in November 2011. More than 45,000 cubic yards of material have been removed so far and the work will continue until late November this year, according to Hamby. The work taking place now involves digging out layers of clay, peat and silt to create a stable base for a new, larger earthen dam. Removing the peat is what led to last week’s discovery, said John Sikora, project engineer with URS. The unanswered question is what else is buried in surrounding peat that won’t be exposed. “That’s the rub,” Mutaw said. Whatever else is there, if anything is there, will likely be locked in the earth forever once the new reservoir is built. “Or preserved forever, depending on how you look at it,” Sikora said. janet@aspentimes.com

Bone marrow, blood drive for Chris Cox

At this time of year, many seniors are enjoying their last days of high school, and happily applying for college. For Christopher Cox, his senior year is going very differently. His started just like any other, but quickly took a turn for the worse. On Sep.17 Chris was diagnosed with Idiopathic Acute Aplastic Anemia. This disease has caused Chris' bone marrow to work at a severely inhibited rate. Due to a lack of platelets in his blood, Chris' body does not have the ability to clot blood. This means that even the smallest of scraps could be fatal for Chris. In addition to being unable to clot blood, the disease has left Chris in a fragile, unstable condition. He has been kept in the hospital since Sep. 25 after battling with Mononucleosis and several infections. Depending on Chris' condition, a bone marrow transplant may be the only way to cure this rare disease. More recently, Chris has been progressing slowly and is now able to walk around and leave his hospital room for short periods of time. Over 30 percent of the world's population has some form of anemia. It is highly likely that each and every person reading this knows at least one anemic person. While not all forms are as severe as Christopher's, many people still require transplants to cure themselves of this life threatening disease. It is possible to help these unfortunate sufferers by being tested and added to the Bone Marrow Match Registry. The test is a simple cheek swab. The test information is added to the registry, and when a patient is in need of a transplant, the registry is searched for a bone marrow match. To help Christopher, and millions of other people like him, a Bone Marrow Drive and Blood Drive is being held at Middle Park High School on Dec. 14. This drive, hosted in Chris' name by Middle Park FBLA and the Granby Rotary, will be open to the public, and all are encouraged to support the cause. Please keep in mind, you must be 16 or older to donate blood, and 18 or older to be added to the Bone Marrow Match Registry.

West Grand wrestling

West Grand wrestling Coach Jeff Matney has six wrestlers this season and his charges have been getting increasingly competitive as the season winds toward the regional tournament in Palisade on Feb. 10-11. The team is led by seniors Landon Schneider (138 pounds), Max Wall (132 pounds) and Michael Lengel (120 pounds). Austin Faeth wrestles at 126 pounds and is joined by fellow sophomore Daniel Terwilliger at 120 pounds. The squad is rounded out by Cole Tracy at 113 pounds. Faeth has had the most consistent results, Coach Matney said, and has placed in every tournament this season. All of the grapplers have gotten better this season and Matney hopes they remain healthy for the last few weeks of the season. The team travels to Center on Saturday, Jan. 28, for a tournament.

Ice Age bones from Snowmass visit Capitol

DENVER (AP) – Ice Age bones found in western Colorado are being shown off to lawmakers in Denver. Bones from a mastodon and other ancient animals were at the Capitol Thursday as lawmakers took up a resolution honoring last year’s discovery of Ice Age fossils near Snowmass Village. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science, which is preserving and studying the fossils, announced that excavation work will begin anew May 15 at the site. Bones at least 43,500 years old were found last October by a construction crew, but work had to stop for the winter a month later. So far, the discoveries include the remains of as many as 10 American mastodons, four Columbian mammoths, four Ice Age bison, the ground sloth, and many Ice Age insects.