On Sunday, July 16, a hiker near Fossil Ridge Wilderness Study Area in Colorado discovered three bodies at Gold Creek Campground. They were so decomposed that police could neither identify them nor discern a cause of death.
A week and a half later, the bodies have finally been identified — though the mystery surrounding their deaths remains.
Michael Barnes, the Gunnison County Coroner, identified two of the victims as sisters — Rebecca Vance, 42, and Christine Vance, 43. The third victim was Rebecca’s 14-year-old son; his name has not been released due to his status as a minor. All three victims were from Colorado Springs, according to the new information.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation keeps a list of missing persons. However, no one with these names is included on it. Authorities are trying to contact the father and paternal grandmother of the deceased boy, but they have not yet been able to locate them.
A Possible Cause of Death?
While no official cause of death has been announced, Barnes speculated that the individuals had begun camping in the remote area as early as July 2022, and that they’d died from malnutrition and exposure as seasons changed and temperatures dropped. The state of decomposition had originally led authorities to believe that these individuals had been deceased since the fall.
When the hiker discovered the three bodies, two were inside the zipped-up tent, and the third was discovered outside of it. The camp was very basic, with only a small tent and a makeshift lean-to. It was about 1,000 feet from an actual campsite. No vehicle was reported on site, though the campground is nearly 7 miles from the nearest town of Ohio City.
Check back for more details on this story. GearJunkie will continue reporting when the official cause of death is announced, and as any more information regarding the background and nature of this bizarre incident becomes available.