Body found in river may be suspected auto thief |

Body found in river may be suspected auto thief

RIFLE, Colorado – Authorities recovered the body of a man from the Colorado River here Thursday. He is believed to be the suspect who fled into the river after attempting to steal a pickup in New Castle 10 days earlier.

The New Castle Police Department reported that someone called the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office at 9:40 a.m. Thursday to report a body in the Colorado River about three miles east of Rifle.

Sheriff’s deputies, Garfield Search and Rescue and the Garfield County Coroner’s Office responded. Search and Rescue pulled the body from the river, and the coroner’s office confirmed that the man was deceased.

The man was described as a white male who was 25 to 40 years old.

In a press release issued Thursday afternoon, the New Castle Police Department stated that officers believe the body to be that of the man involved in the April 16 theft of a vehicle.

In that incident, an unknown man stole a pickup truck that was parked at Innermountain Distributing Co. on County Road 335, south of New Castle, at about 8 a.m. Witnesses reported that the truck spun out of control and rolled as the thief drove out of the parking lot.

The man ran from the wrecked vehicle down to the Colorado River and jumped in with the apparent intent of swimming to the north bank. But when officers appeared along the north bank, the man stayed in the river and headed downstream, quickly disappearing from view.

Garfield Search and Rescue combed the river throughout the day before suspending the search.

The New Castle press release stated that the coroner’s office is in the process of notifying the man’s family before revealing his identity to the public.

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