The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement Sunday morning that confirms that the body found Friday near Emma was Claudia Ruiz, who had been reported missing since May 17.
The Sheriff’s Office statement is as follows: “The body found May 23, 2014, south of Emma, near Basalt in unincorporated Pitkin County has been identified as Claudia Ruiz, a 44-year-old female from Silt. Claudia was reported missing on May 17, 2014. Her death is currently under investigation pending toxicology reports, no further information will be released at this time.”
On Friday, the body was spotted by a rancher riding an all-terrain vehicle in a rugged area south of Emma. Authorities were able to remove the body by 8 p.m. Friday, authorities said.
Ruiz was last seen getting off a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus in El Jebel on May 17. According to Glenwood Springs police, Ruiz caught a ride from Silt to Glenwood, where her daughter later spotted her boarding the eastbound bus.
Ruiz had a history of mental illness and once had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. She did not take her medication with her, leading her family to worry.
Friends, relatives and members of the missing woman’s church searched extensively on foot and by vehicles in the midvalley last week. They put numerous fliers up in public places in El Jebel and Basalt. As word of her disappearance spread, the search expanded to include parts of the Interstate 70 corridor. Glenwood Police Chief Terry Wilson reported seeing a poster at the top of Vail Pass on Friday afternoon.
Claudia and Ruben Ruiz, 44, her husband of 23 years, have three children: Jennehii and her twin brother, Eliel, both 21 and in college, and Ruben Jr., 17. Jenehii described Claudia as “a really loving and caring mom.”