Will Graham autopsy finds ethanol but no trauma | AspenTimes.com

Will Graham autopsy finds ethanol but no trauma

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times
Will Graham was remembered as being extremely loyal to family, friends and Aspen.
Courtesy photo |

The body of a 31-year-old Aspen resident that was recovered from the Roaring Fork River three weeks ago showed no signs of blunt-force trauma to the head, neck, chest or abdomen, according to an autopsy report.

A toxicology analysis of the fluids in Will Graham’s body revealed ethanol and isopropanol, according to the report. Isopropanol is a byproduct of decomposition, while ethanol is a byproduct of both decomposition and alcohol, said Dr. Steve Ayers, Pitkin County coroner.

The ethanol could have come from alcohol or decomposition or a combination of both, the report states.

Graham, who grew up in Aspen and was well-known in the community, probably died of drowning-related asphyxiation, though the examining pathologist classified his death as “undetermined” because his body had significantly decomposed after nearly six weeks in the water, the report states. He was identified through tattoos and dental records.

Graham disappeared June 4, presumably after jumping into the Devil’s Punchbowl, a popular cliff-jumping and swimming area located 9 miles east of Aspen near Weller Campground. That day was one of the first warm days of spring, and the river was swelled with snow runoff.

Graham’s family and friends have said he probably jumped into the Punchbowl hundreds of times during varying conditions over the years. His wallet and some clothing were found on a rock ledge above the Punchbowl, and his car was found at the Grottos parking area.

Graham was last seen leaving City Market in Aspen, where an employee reported to police that he smelled of alcohol.

Graham’s body wasn’t recovered until July 16, when two men from Denver out for a hike from the Weller Lake parking lot discovered his body trapped in rocks and logs in the river, according to Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo and the autopsy report. The area is about a mile downstream from the Punchbowl.

Graham graduated from Aspen High School in 2002 and later worked at Aspen Meadows.