Aspen resident missing since Thursday is 31-year-old Will Graham |

Aspen resident missing since Thursday is 31-year-old Will Graham

Lauren Glendenning
The Aspen Times

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Sunday that a man who went missing Thursday near Devil’s Punchbowl east of Aspen is 31-year-old Aspen resident Will Graham.

Graham was last seen Thursday after leaving City Market in Aspen, where an employee at the store alerted police that he smelled like alcohol. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office responded to a mutual-aid request from the Aspen Police Department to look for a suspected drunken driver. A sheriff’s deputy found Graham’s vehicle in the Grottos parking area on Independence Pass. The deputy also located some of Graham’s belongings — including a wallet and some clothing — on a rock ledge above the Punchbowl, a popular swimming and cliff-diving spot, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Alex Burchetta said Saturday.

Sheriff’s deputies searched the area around the Grottos Day Use Area as well as downriver from the Punchbowl with no success, according to a Sheriff’s Office statement released Sunday afternoon.

“The Sheriff’s Office will not conduct any further searching in the area after Sunday unless new information is uncovered,” the statement said.

On Friday, a five-person swift-water rescue team from the Aspen Fire Department was sent to the area to search the riverbanks, also with no success. Deputies interviewed Graham’s family and friends to try to obtain more information about Graham’s mental state and any other recent history that might help with the investigation, Burchetta said.

On Saturday, Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteers assisted the Aspen Fire Department and Aspen Ambulance in the search, but no new information was gleaned, according to the Sheriff’s Office statement.

The swift-water search continued Sunday, and a rescue dog and handler also joined the search to trace Graham’s scent.

“Based on the information and feedback provided by the handler of the search and rescue dog, the focus of any future search operations will be conducted in areas immediately surrounding the Devil’s Punchbowl,” the statement said.