On Sunday, June 5, AVSAR Leadership was contacted about two missing campers from Arkansas. Family members of the missing campers had reported them missing after the campers had not been heard from in a few days. This was unlike them and the family was beginning to worry. As the Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office was investigating this case, pictures were shared that family members had received from the missing campers. It was easy to tell that the missing campers took their picture in front of the Blanca Massif off of Hwy 150. A cell phone ping was initiated, but gave very little insight to where the campers may be. An AVSAR Incident Command Manager initiated Cell Phone Forensics through the AFRCC. This is a lengthy process but could provide much more data on when the phones were last used and where.
The Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office made a post on Facebook asking for any sightings of the missing couples vehicle. We received sightings and tips from all over the state. Each tip was followed up on and investigated. Unfortunately, no vehicle was located at this point.
On Wednesday, June 8, AVSAR initiated a search on the Blanca Massif where the last confirmed sighting of the couple was. AVSAR sent in two highly modified truck teams up Lake Como Rd to search all remote campsites along the road that could not be spotted by air. AVSAR was also assisted by the Canon Helitack Crew and the DFPC MMA (Multi Mission Aircraft) who conducted thorough aerial searches. Unfortunately, there were no sightings of the missing couple or their vehicle after searching the Blanca Massif and surrounding areas. We were able to confidently determine that the missing couple were no longer in Alamosa County.
After searching for a full day with no new clues available, AVSAR made the decision to not continue searching until new information came in for the whereabouts of the missing campers.
On the morning of Thursday, June 9, Undersheriff Shawn Woods received a tip from a citizen stating that she saw the missing campers on Sunday, June 5. Family members in town from Arkansas immediately began driving to the location of the tip and Hinsdale County Sheriffs were notified. The missing campers were located near the town of Creede, CO, safe and sound. We were so pleased to hear of the happy reunion of the family members.
AVSAR cannot thank the following agencies enough for their continued support of our search efforts and their countless hours devoted to helping bring these people home:
DFPC multi Mission Aircraft
@Colorado Department of Fire Prevention and Control
San Luis Valley Victim Response Unit – for providing food and drinks to the teams tirelessly searching
Alamosa County Road & Bridge for hosing down a Landing Zone for the helicopter to cut down on dust.