Qwest execs family copes with loss | PostIndependent.com

Qwest execs family copes with loss

Family remembered Jeff Garrett this Christmas, seven months after the Qwest executive was killed while turkey hunting in New Castle on May 14.”It was a hard Christmas for all of us,” said Rick Lewis, Garrett’s uncle, who lives in Oklahoma.Garrett was hunting on Bureau of Land Management land near the Bear Wallow Ranch near New Castle, hunkered down in heavy brush calling turkeys when he was shot and killed. Law enforcement authorities believe a ranch hand, who is believed to be a Mexican national, was clearing brush and heard Garrett calling turkeys. Authorities believe the man shot Garrett thinking he was shooting at a turkey.Because of the nature of the offense – the fact that the killing doesn’t appear to have been premeditated – Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario has said he could be prosecuted in Mexico rather than being extradited back to Colorado.Vallario said he is working with Mexican authorities through the state Attorney General’s office to locate and prosecute the man. “We filed for prosecution down there,” he said. “We’re basically waiting to hear back from them.”Investigators think the shooter fled that day after discovering he’d shot someone and has since made his way back to Mexico.Since Garrett’s death, his widow and children have moved to Jefferson City, Mo., where her family lives, Lewis said.The family also held a memorial pheasant hunt last month in Kansas and many of Garrett’s co-workers were there to pay tribute. “Jeff loved to pheasant hunt,” Lewis said. “(He) was just such an outstanding young man.”He also said the sheriff’s office has been in contact with the family about the status of the investigation; however, he would not comment on what they have been told.”We don’t want to jeopardize the investigation,” he said. “Our family is very interested in justice being served.”Lewis also praised the people of Glenwood Springs for helping the family through a difficult time after the shooting.”I want to say how nice everyone was in Glenwood Springs, from the sheriff to search and rescue to the newspaper,” he said.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com

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