DENVER (AP) – Authorities are hoping DNA evidence will help them identify human remains found inside a snow boot at a Colorado ski resort, but it could take weeks for the test results to come back.
Based on the size 13 boot, investigators do not believe the remains belong to a missing 20-year-old man from Lafayette who worked at Eldora Mountain Resort, Cmdr. Heidi Prentup, a spokeswoman for the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, said Wednesday. Family and friends of the man, who went missing in January after leaving work, also said they do not think he owned the kind of boot that was found.
The leather, waterproof boot was discovered in a clearing at the base of the mountain June 1 with a severed and decomposed foot inside. Prentup said it was weathered and wet and appeared to have been there for a while.
Teams spent two days scouring 180 acres, including a search on horseback that covered eight miles of cross-country skiing trails. All of the areas at the resort that are not covered by snow also were searched.
No additional remains were found, and teams do not plan to look again for clues until more snow melts.
Prentup said she expects DNA tests to take two weeks, but “just having a profile doesn’t tell us who it is.”
“The DNA profile will have to be entered into (a national database) and it will only be helpful if the person, while they were alive, was entered and is known,” she wrote in an email Wednesday. “Or, if there is a missing person entry in which DNA was submitted and a profile obtained.”
Investigators are not aware of any other people who were reported missing in the area, which is close to several large campsites that attract transients or those who do not have strong family connections.
That could complicate the investigation because people who live in those populations may never be reported missing. “If they were reported missing, that report could have been made in another state and the family did not know where their loved one had traveled,” Prentup said.
Eldora Mountain Resort receives about 300 inches of snow per year. The base of the mountain sits at about 9,200 feet above sea level.
– By THOMAS PEIPERT, AP Writer
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