BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – Police in the high country are investigating the murder of a man whose body was found near a trailhead in Breckenridge.

Investigators hope an autopsy will help identify the victim and help catch the killer. According to the autopsy report, the victim’s death was due to blunt force trauma.

Hikers found the body over the weekend off the Burro trail near Breckenridge Ski Resort. Now officers are looking for help from the community.

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office says the murder happened just a few yards inside the forest from the trailhead. The sheriff’s office says there’s a reasonably large community that lives off the grid in the forest and someone in there knows what happened.

“It appears the victim was targeted, so I would say there’s no crazy killer on the loose,” Capt. Jaime FitzSimmons said.

CBS4’s Jeff Todd walked along some trails on Monday and found camp set-ups similar to the murder scene.

“Contrary to what you think, there are a lot of people in the woods there,” FitzSimmons said. “They’ll assimilate in the community, they’ll work in the community, they’ll shop, they’ll drink in bars. They will absolutely be part of the community and they choose to live in the forest while there’s no snow on the ground.”

Detectives are not basing the whole investigation on community support. The area is so close to town, the sheriff’s office confiscated surveillance video from a nearby gas station, but the manager says that’s a common occurrence. The sheriff wouldn’t say what the video shows.

body found map2 Identity Needed For Summit County Homicide Investigation To Continue

(credit: CBS)

“We’re confident there’s enough people living in that forest, we’ve had contact with people in that forest and we know there are people out there who know what happened,” FitzSimmons said.

Police say the transient community is normally not a big problem. The only real problem is trash, which coincidentally is exactly how the body was found on Saturday — by a volunteer who was cleaning up part of the trails in the area.


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