The body discovered in the Crystal River over the weekend was that of 39-year-old Carbondale resident Uriah Shaffer, who went missing in the Crystal River near Marble in late May, Gunnison County Sheriff Rick Besecker confirmed Monday.
The search for Shaffer was suspended several days after he turned his kayak over near Marble on May 31, as high waters endangered searchers and chances of survival decreased.
On July 26, the search resumed with a pair of kayakers from the Crested Butte Mountain Rescue team, who discovered Shaffer’s body Saturday afternoon several miles downriver. According to a Gunnison County press release, the searchers were so struck by the tranquil beauty of the site that one of them photographed the calm section of the Crystal to share with Shaffer’s family and friends.
A Carbondale-based swift water rescue team assisted in retrieving the remains, which were transferred to a Grand Junction pathologist for identification.
Shaffer’s obituary in the Delta County Independent described him as a “singer, songwriter, dancer, kayaker, skier, lover of the outdoors, football and wrestling fan, and a friend to everyone.”
He grew up in Delta and Grand Junction, graduated from Fruita Monument High School in 1993 and earned a degree in construction management from Colorado State University in 1999. He is survived by his parents and five siblings. The family has requested that memorial contributions can be made in his name to the Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District at 300 Meadowood Drive, Carbondale 81623.