Colorado River body identified

Heather McGregor
GSPI Managing Editor

The body found Wednesday afternoon in the Colorado River near New Castle was that of Miguel Lopez, 27, of Glenwood Springs, said Glenwood Springs police chief Terry Wilson.

Lopez had been missing since the early morning of March 17. Relatives positively identified the body on Friday, Wilson said.

Preliminary results of an autopsy performed Thursday indicate that Lopez drowned, Wilson said. “There were no signs of foul play,” he added.

Anglers spotted the body lodged against a rock in the river near the Riverbend subdivision, and it was retrieved by a Garfield County Search and Rescue team.

Wilson said Lopez reportedly left his West Glenwood home at 4:30 a.m. on March 17, heavily under the influence of a narcotic, barefoot and wearing only shorts and a knit pullover shirt.

He reportedly entered another home at 5:30 a.m., but the residents of that home, who did not know Lopez, ordered him out and reported the incident to police.

Lopez’s wife called police to report him missing at 7 p.m. that evening, 14 hours after his disappearance.

Wilson said with the combination of intoxication, little clothing and cold, wet weather, Lopez must have gotten cold quickly. He could have slipped or passed out while he was along the river, and was unable to get out once he fell into the cold water.

“Where and how that occurred, we will never know,” Wilson said.

Police are still waiting for results of a blood test from the autopsy, which will show what substances were in his system at the time of his death.

“That’s it, really,” Wilson said. “There is no reason to suspect foul play. He left the house in a bad condition when he shouldn’t have, and somehow wandered down to the river.”

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