By Rick Sallinger
(Editor’s note: CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger was previously a reporter for a Chicago TV station from 1986-1990. While working there he was sent to Colorado to cover the mysterious disappearance of a sportswriter for the Chicago suburban Daily Herald newspaper. Now three decades later, Rick returned to the site of the massive search.)
CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Thirty years ago, Aug. 7, 1988 a man told friends he was going for a hike from Silver Plume to Mount Pendleton. He did not have proper equipment and it was late in the day for such a jaunt. That was the last time anyone has seen Keith Reinhard.
Any trip to Silver Plume just above Georgetown along Interstate 70 in the mountains seems like a step back in time. For Kai Reinhard, it’s a search for clues to his father’s disappearance 30 years ago.
“I think there was foul play. I don’t think he would have gotten up and left,” he told CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger.
His dad was a 50-year-old sportswriter for a Chicago-area newspaper who came to Colorado on leave from work.
“He came out here to see what he was all about himself,” Kai said.
His father set up a shop in the old Knights of Pythias building. Oddly, another man who had also used that shop had disappeared a year earlier. His name was Tom Young. He had been previously featured in a CBS4 story about refurbishing a caboose.
Young’s body and that of his dog were found a year later, each shot in the head. It was ruled a suicide but some have doubts including the missing man’s son,
“I think my dad stumbled across something and he just knew too much and that’s why he disappeared,” he said.
His father had been writing a novel believed based on Tom Young’s disappearance.
It was just one week after Young’s body was found that Reinhard went for that hike.
It led to one of the biggest searches in Colorado history. On the ground and above Pendleton Mountain. It was called off after a plane involved in the search crashed, killing one and injuring another.
Reinhard’s best friend Ted Parker felt then and now that Keith simply fell and is still on the mountain. Speculation has varied from a planned disappearance, to the more sinister. The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office still has an open case on Reinhard.
Lt. Steve Gremillion of the Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office told CBS4, “There’s too many possibilities and not enough evidence to determine what happened.”
But Reinhard’s s son Kai feels both Young and his dad may have met with foul play.
When Sallinger asked, “Do you think this mystery can ever be solved?” Kai Reinhard replied, “Yes, if somebody who knows something comes out.”
A plaque on a mountain placed by Kai Reinhard is inscribed with his father’s words written when his dad was just a boy, “Oh God, I want to wander. I want to wander ‘till I die. With the mountains as my living room, my only roof the sky.”