Body found in Crystal River is identified

Glenwood Springs Post Independent

A 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 water endangered searchers and chances of Shaffer’s 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 statement from Gunnison County, 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 Shaffer’s body, which was 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 says that memorial contributions can be made in his name to the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District at 300 Meadowood Drive, Carbondale, CO 81623.


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