BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Authorities are working to identify the remains of a person found by hikers in western Boulder County earlier this week. On Friday the sheriff’s office said a coroner is working to make a formal identification.
The hikers said they found what appeared to be a human skull in the Brainard Lake area on Monday. When authorities caught up with the hikers they tried to lead investigators to the exact spot where the skull was — close to Lefthand Reservoir — but couldn’t find it again.
A more sophisticated search group that included search dogs tried again to the find the skull on Tuesday and were able to locate it along with other remains. They said a photo that the hikers took helped them find the spot.
The search crew then determined that the remains were of a human, although it’s not clear how or when they died.
The coroner’s office has not yet released the person’s identity but the Longmont Police Department told CBS4 the remains do not belong to missing mom Rita Gutierrez-Garcia.
Gutierrez-Garcia, 34, disappeared after celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with friends.
In July, Longmont police said they believe she is no longer alive and that they have a suspect in the case, 29-year-old Juan Figueroa, but no one has been able to find Rita’s remains.
Police previously said her remains may be somewhere in Boulder County and that areas of interest include the Peak-to-Peak Highway, Rollins Pass, the area west of Longmont, Rabbit Mountain and the Rocky Mountain Arsenal area.