Body of missing rafter found in Eagle County |

Body of missing rafter found in Eagle County

Edward Stoner
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily NewsRafts float down the Colorado River below Kremmling on Tuesday morning. The rapid where Eric Kophs, 42, of Aurora is thought to have fallen off his raft is at the top right of the picture.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. – The body of a Front Range school administrator who went missing on the Colorado River last month was found Wednesday just upstream from Rancho del Rio.

Eric Kophs, 42, of Aurora, and a friend were rafting on a fishing trip June 20 near Kremmling when Kophs was ejected from the raft. He was not wearing a life jacket.

The body was found at about noon Wednesday on an island in the river, said Grand County Coroner Brenda Bock. The small island, which is several miles downstream from where Kophs was last seen, had been covered by high water until Tuesday, according to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.

The two men were rafting the Needle’s Eye Rapids, Class III water between Kremmling and Radium, when Kophs went overboard.

Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson said last week that Kophs was at the oars of the boat and his fishing partner was in the front while they seemed to safely negotiate the rapid. Moments later, he said, the partner suspected something was wrong because of the course of the boat and looked back to discover Kophs was no longer on the raft.

“How and why he fell out of the boat is a mystery,” Johnson said last week.

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A search led by Grand County authorities in the days after Kophs disappeared turned up no trace of the missing man.

Kophs was executive director of elementary schools for the Cherry Creek School District. He began working for the Cherry Creek School District as a teacher in 1995, and also served as principal of two schools in the district.

He was described as an avid outdoorsman and fisherman.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and those who are searching for him,” said Cherry Creek School District Superintendent Mary Chesley said in a statement last week.

A spokeswoman for the Cherry Creek School District did not return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday.

A memorial service for Kophs is scheduled for Friday in Foxfield.

The Ski-Hi Daily News contributed to this report.