Search in Pitkin County along Crystal River for missing Delta man unsuccessful | PostIndependent.com

Search in Pitkin County along Crystal River for missing Delta man unsuccessful

David Krause
The Aspen Times

A multi-jurisdictional group of more than 20 people searched western Pitkin County on Friday for a Delta man who has been missing for nearly two weeks, but they did not find any signs of him or the motorcycle he was riding.

The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office and Mountain Rescue Aspen joined other agencies to look for Robert (Bob) Geisler, 51, along Highway 133 between Carbondale and McClure Pass. Geisler was last seen May 12 after leaving Glenwood Springs and thought to be heading back to Delta via the pass.

He left Glenwood just before 3 p.m. on his black Harley Davidson motorcycle in the direction of McClure Pass, which is about 25 miles south of Carbondale, officials said.

Geisler was wearing a black-and-white checkered flannel jacket and is described as 6-foot tall, 215 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes.

"We've done telephone record searches and his cell phone last pinged in Carbondale that afternoon, which is why we think that was his route back to Delta," Glenwood Spring Police Lt. John Hassell said Friday. "The last we knew he was heading back toward his house on the 12th, and we have no reason to believe otherwise. This search is at the top of our priority [of missing persons' cases] as we want to get as much closure for the family as possible."

Geisler's daughter Tiffany Toothaker said Friday the family has spent days walking the highway after collecting surveillance video from businesses along the way.

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She said he was last seen on video in Carbondale at 3:16 p.m. They also checked with the West Elk Mine near Somerset, which is on the south side of McClure Pass about 50 miles from Carbondale, and he never was seen going by there and "they have really good cameras, so he would have shown up."

That is what leads her to believe he disappeared between those areas.

"The longer it goes without finding him gets more and more frustrating," Toothaker said. "At first the hardest part was convincing [authorities] that he was gone."

She said Geisler went to Glenwood to see his son's baseball game and the drive back should have taken about two hours. She said he is a responsible rider who has been on motorcycles for years.

"We're kind of running out of …," Toothaker said as her voice trailed off. "We've looked and looked. It feels like it is kind of over our heads at this point."

Glenwood Police Department is the lead investigating agency because he was last seen there, Hassell said.

Pitkin County Sheriff's director of operations Alex Burchetta said the teams Friday searched 50 to 100 feet off the road to the river along the Crystal River Valley. The foot search lasted about five hours, he said.

"I think everyone was hopeful we would find something, but unfortunately we were not able to," Deputy Burchetta said.

He said another search is not planned yet but "if anyone makes a request for assistance we'll certainly do our part."

The Glenwood Spring Police Department made the request Thursday and asked Pitkin County to help spearhead the coordinated search.

Since Friday's search on the north side of McClure Pass did not turn up any leads, Hassell said they next would start intensifying their search on the other side of the pass.

"We're going to work with Gunnison County to cover the top of McClure Pass and work down toward Paonia," Hassell said.

Also joining Friday's efforts were the Carbondale Fire Department, Garfield County Search and Rescue and the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Glenwood Police at 970-384-6500 or the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office at 970-920-5310.