Possible clues found near Pearl Pass body

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – Sheriff’s investigators on Monday were analyzing what could be possessions that belonged to a man whose decomposed body was found Friday by a hiker near Pearl Pass outside of Aspen.

Among those items was a MacBook Pro laptop computer, which investigator Brad Gibson spent part of Monday dissecting.

“There wasn’t much personal information on it,” Gibson said. “Nobody was listed in his contacts, and there was not a lot of personal email. No photos, no addresses.”

Later Monday afternoon, Gibson was en route to Minturn, where he said he was to interview a person who might have information about the dead man.

“It’s the first good lead,” the investigator said.

Gibson said he also learned the name of the person to whom the Apple-made computer is registered, but he was not ready to go public with that information because he was not certain the laptop, and the other possessions obtained, actually belonged to the dead man.

The name is fairly common, said Gibson, who ran it through the Colorado Criminal Information Center database, which tracks not only criminal information on in-state residents but also missing-person reports and driver’s licenses, among other data. The man’s name was not part of the database, Gibson said.

On Friday afternoon, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office launched its investigation into the death of the man, whose body, which was partially covered in snow, was found by a hiker that day near a campsite on Pearl Pass Road, which is located near the end of Castle Creek Road, south of Aspen.

While the man apparently was wearing bicycling clothes, a bicycle was not found in the area. Likewise, there was no identification or cellphone found on the body, sheriff’s officials said.

Four days earlier, on April 30, the Sheriff’s Office received a call from a male and female camper who had discovered a number of abandoned items at the same campsite that was near where the body had been found. The couple took the items, and on Monday, as part of their investigation into the man’s death, sheriff’s investigators retrieved the possessions.

Gibson and investigator Bruce Benjamin said the possessions were located about 100 yards from where the man’s body was discovered.

As of Monday afternoon – the Sheriff’s Office acquired the items at approximately 11:30 a.m. – detectives were searching for any clues that may yield more information about the deceased man.

In addition to the laptop, among the items were a Marmot sleeping bag, a tarp, a bar of deodorant, biking clothes, a bottle of vitamins, skin gel, Q-tips, and two pairs of hiking-type shoes. A camping tent was not among the items.

There were also seven books – “Starship Titanic,” “Lord Kelvin’s Machine, “Neuromanner,” “Where to Ski and Snowboard 2009,” “The Dog said Bow-Wow, “Spring Heeled Jackie” and a travel book.

None of those items, according to Gibson, contained any personal information about the man. Gibson also said no food was found at the campsite.

An autopsy performed Saturday in Grand Junction was inconclusive and did not determine the cause of the man’s death.

Gibson said the man had been deceased for some time. “Sometime this winter,” the detective said.

The man is believed to have been between 35 and 60 years old, standing 6 foot tall and weighing 150 to 160 pounds. He had a full-length beard and a mustache, and was balding at the front. He had some gray and brown hair, Gibson said.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 920-5300.


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