Basalt police seek bus rider from night of Daniel Meijia’s death
Basalt police are trying to determine if a bus passenger can help them figure out the actions of Daniel Perez Mejia between the time they got off the same bus in Basalt the morning of May 26 and when he was found dead in an irrigation ditch around 7:30 the morning of May 27.
Basalt Police Chief Greg Knott said video from the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s on-bus camera indicates another man got off the bus in Basalt at the same time as Mejia. However, police don’t know if the men were intentionally exiting together, Knott said.
The downvalley-bound bus left Aspen late May 25. Police have talked to acquaintances of Mejia’s who were on the bus. They reported they think Mejia knew the other man that exited at the downvalley bus stop at The Basalt Store, but there are no indications the men were friends, Knott said.
Police have a picture of the other man who got off the bus, and they believe they know his first name, Knott said. They want to talk to him to help fill in the timeline of where Mejia was and when on May 26 and early May 27.
Mejia was found in the Williams 2 irrigation ditch in a vacant lot east of Big O Tires in Basalt. The ditch is across Highway 82 and roughly one-fifth of a mile from the bus stop.
There are several mysterious circumstances in the Mejia case that are making the department “cautious” with the investigation, according to Knott. Mejia lived in Carbondale, so it’s uncertain why he got off the bus in Basalt after finishing work at a restaurant in Aspen. Mejia was found face up in the ditch. He was partially clothed with belongings piled across West Cody Lane from the ditch.
An autopsy established that there were no visible injuries to Mejia’s body, according to Knott. Investigators are eager to learn the results of a toxicology report due later this month.
When asked if it is possible that Mejia was intoxicated and somehow fell into the ditch and drowned, Knott said every scenario remains open at this point. He urged anyone with information to call the Basalt Police Department at 927-4316.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is assisting Basalt with the case.
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The Colorado High School Activities Association named Kayla Tehrani the Class 3A girls swimmer of the year for this past season. She was a key piece — if not the key piece — in the Skiers finishing second in 3A to state champion Evergreen, despite having another small roster.