Authorities identify body |

Authorities identify body

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The Garfield County Coroner’s office last week identified the man whose body was found in a cave near No Name about three months ago.

Although coroner officials have officially confirmed the identity of the man based on his fingerprints, they declined to release his name because his next of kin has yet to be contacted, said Lanny Grant, deputy coroner for the Garfield County Coroner’s Office.

“As soon as we have made that notification, we can release the name,” he said.

No final report on the man’s death has been received, but preliminary indications are that he probably died of natural causes, Grant said. The best estimate for the man’s age is that he was 57-years-old when he died.

“There was no trauma,” he said.

Climbers found the man’s body on March 31 in a cave east of the No Name Tunnel, north of Interstate 70 approximately at mile marker 119. Deputies found no evidence of foul play at the scene, according to previous reports.

The man was presumed to have been dead for a few weeks, maybe even over a month, Grant said.

Several homeless people in the area said they knew the man, and that he often kept to himself and wouldn’t leave the cave for days on end.

Finding a positive identification for the man was a challenge because he did not have any identification on him when he was found, and also due to the length of time “the man had been deceased,” Grant said.

“There was a degree of mummification that happened to the body,” he said.

Grant said officials had to let the tissue “soften” for some time with solutions so coroner staff could get a print from the man’s fingers.

Law enforcement officials had an idea of who the man was based on previous encounters with him, but there wasn’t any way for local officials to confirm it because had never been booked locally, Grant said.

“Finally, we were able to research and found an old police record from Clear Creek County in 1978,” Grant said. “That was the only fingerprint record we could come up with. That was how (his identity) was officially confirmed.”

Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117

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