Authorities find body west of West Apostle Peak

The Mountain Mail, July 30, 2020 Initially identified as Terry Pann, 60 of Nathrop, the body of a man was found at about 1 p.m. today, Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze reported. “Chaffee County Search and Rescue located the body of a deceased male west of West Apostle Peak,” Spezze wrote in a press release. Search and rescue have been searching for Pann for the past five days after he was reported overdue after hiking in the Ice Mountain Area in northern Chaffee County. Chaffee County Coroner will transport Pann to Salida and an autopsy will be performed to make a positive identification. Search efforts have been hampered due to inclement weather for the past four days, Spezze wrote; however, the weather broke today and numerous resources were in place to do a much more intense search. Chaffee County North and South, Park County and El Paso County search and rescues, Summit County Rescue Group, Cañon City Helitak, Department of Fire Prevention and Control Multi Mission Aircraft and Flight for Life Colorado were involved in the search today. Reach Air Ambulance has also assisted several times over the past several...

Massive search locates missing 4-year-old near Four Elk

by Chaffee County Times Staff, May 29, 2020 The Chaffee County Communications Center received a call of a missing 4-year-old girl May 29 who had wandered away from a residence in the Four Elk Subdivision. The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office immediately responded and emergency and search personnel were called, according to a press release issued by Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze late Friday morning. A massive search began immediately. After nearly 2 hours of searching, the girl was located over a mile from where she was last seen. “She was re-united with her very happy parents soon after she was located,” Spezze said. Agencies responding and assisting were the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, Chaffee County Search and Rescue North, Chaffee County Search and Rescue South, Chaffee County EMS, Chaffee Fire, Buena Vista Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, Salida Police Department, Department of Corrections Tracking Team, Colorado Parks and Reach Air Medical. “This is so important to recognize these many agencies who responded immediately as this once again confirms the commitment of our First Responder group to each other and to our community,” Spezze said. “A huge thank...

Maysville woman missing

Cody Olivas, Chaffee County Times, May 12, 2020 Maysville’s Suzanne Morphew, 49, is missing. The Chaffee County Communications Center received a call about a missing female at 5:46 p.m. on Sunday. Sheriff John Spezze said that’s they day they think she went missing. Members of the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of C.R. 225 and U.S. 50 in Maysville and contacted the reporting party who told them Morphew had reportedly gone for a bike ride in the area and failed to return home. Sheriff personnel called members of Chaffee County Search and Rescue South and North and a search began immediately. The Department of Corrections was also contacted and a request was made for tracking dogs to assist. They responded and joined the search. The search continued into the early morning hours with no results. Search and Rescue resumed the search early Monday morning. They once again scoured the area. Members were then called from the Chaffee County Tactical Team along with search parties from the Department of Corrections and the area was once again scoured. In all over 100 personnel were used during the search of the Maysville area, however by late Monday afternoon, Morphew had not been found. Spezze said the search and the investigation are both still active. The sheriff’s office asks that any person or persons who may have information please call them at 719-539-2596 or the Chaffee County Crime Stoppers at...

Family alerts dispatch after GPS app indicates hiker was static

by D.J. DeJong Mountain Mail December 4, 2019 Two hikers and a dog were rescued from Mount Belford early Monday morning. Chaffee County Search and Rescue North received a call reporting an overdue hiker on Mount Belford at about 3:45 a.m. Monday. One of the hikers, Alec Landingham, 24, of the Denver area was using a GPS app, AllTrails location tracking. Rebecca Hinds of Chaffee County Search and Rescue North said they did not have the name of the second hiker. A family member was monitoring Landingham’s progress remotely and alerted the county communications center after becoming worried when his location was static for several hours. A Search and Rescue ground team hiked up to Landingham’s last known coordinates, while Flight for Life Colorado assisted with a flyover and insertion of a second team above the hikers’ position. A third team assisted with a drone search. Search and Rescue teams were able to rappel down to the two hikers and their dog, who had been stranded on a cliff at an elevation of about 12,200 feet after getting off the trail in the dark. Teams were then able to hike them out safely by about 10:15 a.m., a Search and Rescue press release...

July 15 LaPlata Mission Chaffee SO Press Release

CHAFFEE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE Salida, Colorado PRESS RELEASE July 16, 2019 On July 15, 2019 the Chaffee County Communications Center was contacted by hikers on La Plata Peak stating that they hear a person yelling for help. Chaffee County Search and Rescue North and South responded to the area where the screams were last heard and began searching. Searchers scoured the area until just before nightfall when they noticed a light flashing below the summit. Searchers responded closer however they were unable to get into a better position due to the extreme steep and technical terrain. Flight for Life was called for assistance in spotting a possible victim and to pinpoint a better location. They flew into the area and spotted a person on a very steep snowfield. Rescuers were not able to reach the person from their position so a Reach helicopter was contacted and they flew a paramedic/search and rescue member into a better location. After being dropped near the summit the search and rescue member was able to get to the victim at approximately 0300 hrs. By this time arrangements were being made through the Search and Rescue Board of Colorado for air assistance to lift the victim from the treacherous location. The Air National Guard, High Altitude Training Center, Gypsum, Colorado, was contacted and arrangements were made to have a helicopter hoist the victim from the location as early as possible. At approximately 0730 hrs the victim was hoisted from his location and transported to a Flight for Life helicopter which was waiting at Twin Lakes. The victim, identified as Jeffrey Ashby, age 65, was...

June 30, 2019 Chaffee County Sheriff Press Release

On June 29, 2019 at 1633 hours the Chaffee County Communications Center received numerous calls of a kayaker floating downriver from the Buena Vista River Park. Emergency personnel immediately responded to the area and began searching for a potential victim. Information was received that another boater had observed a body in the water near the Wilderness Aware Center in Johnson Village and this boater was now trying to make contact with the body. Emergency personnel and boaters on the water finally were able to pull a male from the water at the River Runners Center. EMS personnel were on scene and the male party was pronounced dead at 1750 hours. Chaffee County Sheriff, Arkansas Water Headwater, and Buena Vista Police began an investigation and it was learned that Michael Robert James, age 40, from Boulder, Colorado, was paddle boating at the Buena Vista River Park. He was observed to fall in the water and was eventually unable to get back on his paddle board. Boaters in the water initially tried to rescue James, however he was eventually swept downstream due to high, fast moving water. Another boater located James in Johnson Village and tried numerous times to pull him to safety but once again high swift water prevented this and this same boater accompanied James to the River Runners area where emergency crews and private citizens pulled James out of the water but at this time he was deceased. The Chaffee County Coroner responded and took possession of Mr...