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Remains found; suspected to be missing hiker


bio_geneRemains thought by authorities to be those of Gene George, 64, the Cleveland area man missing since last September, were recovered from Mount Harvard today by Chaffee County Search and Rescue team members.  A hiker on Sunday discovered a wallet and clothing a quarter mile off the trail leading to the summits of Mount Harvard and Mount Columbia in very rugged terrain marked by thick underbrush.  The site is approximately two and a half miles from the North Cottonwood Creek Trailhead. 

The hiker, Karl Maes, 20, of Colorado Springs, notified sheriff’s deputies and turned over the wallet to them Sunday evening.  Search volunteers assembled at 8am today and, accompanied by Mr. Maes, organized a search that led to the discovery about three hours later.   The remains will be released to the Chaffee County Coroner for examination to determine cause and manner of death.   

Mr. George was last heard from Wednesday, September 18 when he spoke by telephone with his girlfriend in Cleveland.  He was reported missing after he failed to check out of his motel room as scheduled the following Sunday.   A search mission was begun the same day after Mr. George’s car was discovered parked and locked at the North Cottonwood Creek trailhead.

Search efforts at the time, lasting four days, involved over one hundred volunteers from seven counties, three helicopters, one fixed wing aircraft, several dog teams, two horseback teams, two mules, and numerous items of specialized equipment.