Police find body on Aspen Mountain | AspenTimes.com

Police find body on Aspen Mountain

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The partially consumed body of a man was found on the back side of Aspen Mountain in the woods near his residence on Saturday, fueling unconfirmed reports of a fatal bear attack.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office released little information in the case Sunday. A three-sentence press release from the office states the man was “a local resident who lived in a cabin off Midnight Mine Road.”

Police say the man was reported missing around 7:30 p.m. Friday and was discovered dead outside his cabin around 11 a.m. the next day. The man’s name and cause of death were not released yesterday. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is assisting deputies.

An autopsy was scheduled for Sunday night.

People who contacted the Times and neighbors in the area hinted a bear may have been involved, but officials refused to comment on rumors of a fatal mauling. The condition of the man’s remains make it difficult to do so, said Pitkin County Coroner Steve Ayers.

“The remains were partially consumed by animals, but we don’t know if that was the cause of death or something that happened after death,” he said.

Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Lumsden said the first phase of the office’s investigation is complete. He said it could be “at least a couple of days” before any findings are released and said the same goes for the CBI’s investigation.

“Anything else we could say at this point would be conjecture, possibly erroneous and probably unfair,” Lumsden said.

He did say the case is, at this point, a homicide investigation.

“Any unattended death is, until you rule it out,” he said. Homicide is just one of several options that are considered initially until a cause of death can be found, he said.

Several Denver-area news outlets who seemed to be chasing rumors of a bear attack were spotted in Aspen yesterday.

“They’ve gone off and determined something themselves, and reached a conclusion that may not be true,” Lumsden said of the media.

Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is jenniferd@aspentimes.com

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