Coroner identifies body as Frank Thundercloud
The county coroner used dental records Friday to make a positive identification of the body found by two teen-aged boys on Shadow Mountain 10 days ago.
Frank “Trip” Thundercloud, 43, was the man found by a campsite near Aspen Mountain, according to Pitkin County Coroner Tom Walsh.
Walsh said the identification was made with dental X-rays taken while Thundercloud was a prisoner in the Pitkin County jail. Thundercloud had a tooth removed during his incarceration, and the county had an X-ray of his jawbone, which matched up with the bone taken from the body found last month.
Completion of last Friday’s autopsy was suspended, however, until an anthropologist can be brought in to inspect the remains. The request for an anthropologist was made by the pathologist, whose job is to determine a cause of death.
The body was so badly decomposed by the time it was found, that county officials had a difficult time identifying its sex.
Walsh repeated earlier statements that he does not suspect foul play in Thundercloud’s death.
Thundercloud was found by two 14-year-old New Jersey boys on July 20 while they were hiking up Aspen Mountain. The boys discovered the body after stumbling upon a campsite believed to be Thundercloud’s home.
The camp was arranged in ways that indicate Thundercloud was living there full time, said Pitkin County Sheriff’s Detective Ron Ryan. One area had been set aside for storage of clothing and tools, another for cooking, and still another for camping.
Ryan said he has had an unusually difficult time reaching Thundercloud’s next of kin. He has been tracking down information found among Thundercloud’s belongings without much success.
“This is quite unusual,” Ryan said. “Usually we have more leads on how to track down family members.”
The cause of death will not be known until the autopsy is completed. Walsh said he expects it to be done sometime this week.
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The city of Aspen is contributing $1 million to a CDOT project that will see concrete instead of asphalt at the roundabout into town.