Police ID man found dead in Silt
SILT — Police here have identified a man found dead in the Cactus Valley Ditch on Oct. 30 as Conner Murphy, 18, of Silt.
According to Silt Police Chief Levy Burris, Murphy apparently drowned in the ditch, preliminary autopsy results indicate.
Burris said a full toxicology screen of Murphy’s blood at the time of his death is pending.
Reiterating an earlier report, Burris said there was no indication of injury to the body.
Murphy’s body was found exactly two years to the day after another Silt man, Jon Beck, 57, was found in the same ditch, at about the same time of the day.
Burris, when asked if there is a possible connection between the two deaths, said, “I don’t believe there is any connection whatsoever.”
He explained that “the ditch bank is flat and smooth, it is used by pedestrians daily as a trail and runs the length of town.”
He noted that in both cases the men were “walking the ditch at night, unlighted, several blocks apart and on a very chilly autumn evening. The water temperature was cold and possibly [there were] multiple other factors that are unknown at this time.”
Beck, too, was believed to have been walking at night along the ditch on the night of Oct. 29, 2011, after taking a bus to Silt from Glenwood Springs, where he was photographed at an ATM machine getting cash. He had been released from the Garfield County Jail that night, after being arrested by Silt police on Oct. 28 on a drunken driving charge. Beck reportedly had paid his bond of $825 on Oct. 29 and was headed for home.
Beck was found at about 3 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2011, by a group of boys walking alongside the ditch, police reported. Police also reported that an unidentified witness had seen something in the ditch at around noon that day, but had not gotten close enough to see what it was.
There was some cash in Beck’s pocket at the time of his death, leading police to conclude that his death was not part of a robbery.
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Officer Haley Walker sat beside her stepmother in a windowless interrogation room just before starting the overnight shift on Thursday evening.