Thursday, Aug 4, 2005
Rocky Mountain National Park staff and assisting volunteer organizations continued their search yesterday for Jeff Christensen. On Tuesday, the park was contacted by visitors who had seen Jeff the previous Friday. Using this newly disclosed information, approximately 100 searchers focused on Wednesday on high probability areas in the Mummy Range. Five helicopters are now committed to the search, along with three dog teams from Larimer County Search and Rescue and two from Front Range Rescue Dogs. The Central IMT is coordinating search operations. Wednesday's search area covered roughly 26 square miles with extreme variations in elevation. Much of this expanded search area was covered using helicopters. The Mummy Range is a remote, high altitude, rugged area which includes Mount Chapin, Mount Chiquita, Ypsilon Mountain and Desolation Peaks. There are few designated trails in the area and hiking mainly occurs cross country. The park has received a tremendous outpouring of support from people across the agency, from across the country, and from other countries. Superintendent Vaughn Baker offers the following in response: "The family, friends and co-workers of Ranger Jeff Christensen appreciate all of the expressions of support and encouragement that we have received from around the country. Knowing that we are in your thoughts and prayers helps keep us going in our efforts to find Jeff and bring him home. A heartfelt thanks to all."Update, Thursday Morning: As a result of the media reports last night, park investigators have been contacted by a family of four from Chanutt, Kansas. They spoke with Jeff near the summit of Mount Chiquita at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, July 29th. They talked about rocks and moss, and the family reports that he was in good spirits. Investigators also learned from the family that there were two brothers in their mid-30s or mid-40s who were also in the area at the time. One brother was from Overland Park, Kansas; the other brother and his two sons were from the Lawrence, Kansas area. One of the boys had a sweatshirt with the words "State Track & Field Champions - It's A Tradition." Park officials are asking for anyone who may have been in the Mummy Range area of Rocky Mountain National Park on Friday, July 29th, or Saturday, July 30th, to please contact the park at 970-586-1204.