Hikers find body near trail | AspenTimes.com

Hikers find body near trail

Tim Mutrie

Two visiting teen-agers discovered a decomposed corpse Tuesday near a makeshift campsite on lower Shadow Mountain.

The unidentified body was found about a half-mile up a trail above Little Cloud Park, which is located to the south of Fourth Street in Aspen, authorities said.

The body was apparently at the site for an extended period of time, according to Investigator Ron Ryan of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department. Authorities are presently investigating the cause and manner of death, and working on identification of the body, he said.

Ryan would not comment on the gender of the deceased.

Two 14-year-olds from New Jersey alerted local authorities to the body at about 8 p.m. Tuesday, Ryan said. Officers located the body later that night, but it was not evacuated until Wednesday “for reasons of safety,” Ryan said. “The terrain was too treacherous to operate in at night.

“This was not a recent death, based on the decomposition that we observed on scene,” Ryan added. An autopsy will be performed, he said.

“We do not know who the person is,” Ryan said. “Identification will most likely come from forensics and identification of dental records.”

Autopsies are standard procedure in investigations of “unattended and/or suspicious deaths,” he explained. The campsite where the body was found was treated as a “crime scene,” Ryan added, “as we would with any unknown death.”

Asked about the possibility of foul play, Ryan replied, “Nothing has been ruled out at this point.

“It appeared that the person had been camping there for awhile,” Ryan said. “It was an established campsite, but it’s not a designated campsite area. There was no identification on the body, but there was some information at the campsite that we’re following up on.”

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