Body identified as auto thief |

Body identified as auto thief

Heather McGregor
Post Independent Editor
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

NEW CASTLE, Colorado – The auto thief whose body was found Thursday in the Colorado River was wanted by the Colorado Department of Corrections for jumping parole in September 2011.

On Friday, Deputy Garfield County Coroner Lanny Grant identified the man as Randall Clark Mayhew, 41, of Westminster.

New Castle Police Sgt. Julynne Saunders confirmed Friday that Mayhew was positively linked to the theft of a pickup truck from a parking lot at Innermountain Distributing on County Road 335 south of New Castle the morning on April 16.

Grant said an autopsy showed Mayhew died of drowning, but had not suffered any traumatic injuries when he rolled the stolen pickup truck moments after he drove it out of the parking lot.

Witnesses to the rollover said Mayhew fled from the crash down to the Colorado River, apparently intending to swim to the north bank. But when officers appeared along the north bank, he turned downriver and quickly vanished from sight. His body was found Thursday, 10 days later, about 15 miles downriver and three miles east of Rifle.

Mayhew’s drowning death ends an 18-year history of alternating between criminal activity and time in the state prison system.

He was initially convicted in 1997 of 10 criminal charges, including burglary, theft and forgery, stemming from crimes committed in 1994, said Katherine Sanguinetti, public information officer for the Colorado Department of Corrections.

Mayhew was repeatedly in and out of prison from 1997 to 2011 in a pattern that cycled between being released on parole, committing a new crime, and being convicted and sent back to prison, she said.

He never served time at the Rifle Correctional Facility, she noted.

He was on parole in mid-2011 but failed to check in with the Westminster parole office on his appointed date of Sept. 14, 2011. The Department of Corrections then issued a no-bond arrest warrant for the parole violation, Sanguinetti said.

Authorities still do not know why Mayhew turned up in New Castle, Grant said.

Mayhew’s body was identified by tattoos, which included his last name and his initials, as well as distinctive clothing and jewelry, Grant said.

“He had been reported as missing to the New Castle Police Department a day or two after he went in the river,” Grant said. “But because of the uncertainty of who he was, we couldn’t release that information.”

Grant noted that toxicology reports from the autopsy aren’t expected for a few more weeks.

Saunders said the stolen pickup was only moderately damaged, and the police department will return it to its owner in the coming days after officers complete the crime processing work.

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