Body found in reservoir where Buena Vista teen hunter went missing

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GRANITE, Colo. – Divers recovered a body in the water at Clear Creek Reservoir State Wildlife Area on Monday following a two-day search triggered by witness reports that a teenaged boy was missing after the canoe he and a friend were paddling had capsized.

According to a press release from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) the remains were turned over to the Chaffee County Coroner’s office. The coroner will determine a cause of death and make formal identification of the victim. 

CPW Officers responded to a 9-1-1 call Saturday evening around 5 p.m. and initiated a search-and-rescue at the 407-acre lake, located 15 miles north of Buena Vista, after a witness called authorities to report two boys had been tossed in the water when their canoe flipped following a day of duck hunting.

The father of one of the boys arrived about the same time as CPW officers and swam out toward the boat. He was able to grab one of the boys. But he struggled trying to get back to shore in the 33-degree water and swimming against 20 mph winds. CPW Officers Kevin Madler and Zach Baker entered the water to save both the man and boy.

But they were unable to find the other boy in the boat. CPW River Rangers from the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) and Lake Pueblo State Park (LPSP) soon arrived with jet skis and a rescue boat and initiated a search, criss-crossing the water with sonar equipment until about 4 a.m. Sunday.

They were joined by the CPW Marine Evidence Recovery Team (MERT) from Littleton which uses an underwater drone equipped with sonar, lights and video camera. The team resumed the search Sunday morning and worked until dark. The search continued Monday and the MERT unit located the remains at about 12:30 p.m. in water 25 feet deep and about 270 yards off shore.

Divers from the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team recovered the body.

“We offer our condolences to the family of this young man,” said Jim Aragon, CPW Area Wildlife Manager for the region. “We hate seeing a life lost so tragically. This was a terrible accident.”

Agencies that contributed to the search and rescue:

  • Chaffee County Sheriff’s Department
  • Buena Vista Police Department
  • Lake County Search and Rescue
  • Pueblo County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue dive team
  • Summit County Search and Rescue canine unit
  • Colorado State Patrol
  • Chaffee County EMS
  • Chaffee County Search and Rescue North
  • The CPW team including officers of Area 13, rangers from the AHRA and Lake Pueblo and the MERT team from Littleton.

Aragon also thanked all the members of the Buena Vista community who rallied around the family of the missing youth and provided food and support to the first responders who worked around the clock trying to rescue and recover the victim.

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