Will Grandbois

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July 10, 2014
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Rifle drowning victim ID'd; thought to be transient

The man found dead last weekend in the Colorado River near Rifle is believed to have been a transient, Garfield County authorities said Thursday.

He was identified as George Hoskovek, 61. The sheriff’s office said he was identified by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation through a fingerprint match.

A preliminary autopsy determined that he drowned, and had suffered a debilitating neck injury consistent with diving. The injury would have left him unable to swim, the county coroner’s office said.

Hoskovek had an extensive history of mostly minor criminal incidents, including drunken driving, trespassing, drug possession and, most recently, disorderly conduct for urinating in public in Rifle in October 2013.

He had been in the water about a week. The official autopsy report is pending results of toxicology tests.

The discovery of the body by rafters Saturday prompted speculation that it might be that of Uriah Shaffer. Shaffer, 39, of Carbondale, overturned his kayak May 31 after entering the river below Marble with four other men. Authorities searched for him for four days without success.

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The Post Independent Updated Jul 11, 2014 01:50PM Published Jul 11, 2014 11:41AM Copyright 2014 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.