Remains found in Boulder County identified as Ryder Johnson, missing since January 2016

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. -- The remains found at Gross Reservoir in Boulder County last weekend have been identified as Ryder Johnson, the Boulder County Coroner's Office said Thursday.

The cause an manner of death are pending further investigation.

Johnson disappeared on Jan. 17, 2016, after he left work at Eldora Mountain Resort.

His family offered a $100,000 reward for information that would help them find him.

Johnson was last seen wearing a black Eldora jacket, black jeans and black work boots. His vehicle was found later that evening at the Gross Dam Overlook parking area.

Several searches of the Gross Reservoir and Walker Ranch areas had been been unsuccessful in finding Johnson.

In a statement Thursday night, the family said it is saddened by the loss but are relieved to finally bring Ryder home.

“After a year and a half, it is with mixed emotions that we receive the news of the recovery of Ryder’s remains. The journey of a missing child and sibling is an especially difficult and uncertain one, but we have been sustained and lifted up by faith, hope and love. We are saddened by the loss of our son and brother, relieved that we can finally bring Ryder home and grateful for the 20 years he enriched our lives.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone in our community who searched thousands of acres of vast and rugged terrain in the Walker Ranch area. We are grateful for the first responders, Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, as well as to Boulder Emergency Squad and Colorado Forensic Canines, for giving selflessly of their unique talents. A special thank you to the search and rescue officers and detectives of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. These local law enforcement personnel distinguished themselves in so many ways and were incredibly caring, compassionate, persistent and professional with our family. We owe them a debt of gratitude for providing us the gift of closure that can never be fully repaid. We also recognize and greatly appreciate the miracle of a lone fisherman who discovered the remains.

In honor of Ryder’s memory, our family wishes to establish Ryder’s Fund to be administered by the YMCA of Boulder Valley. The fund will be directed to enhancing the healthy development of young people in our community and assisting them with life’s challenges. The fund will seek opportunities for collaboration with local law enforcement officials to maximize impact and include grants to local organizations. Contributions can be directed to Ryder’s Fund at www.ymcabv.org/ryders-fund or by personal check payable to YMCA of Boulder Valley - Ryder’s Fund, c/o Chris Coker, CEO, 2800 Dagny Way, Lafayette, Colorado 80026. Questions about donations can be directed to Chris Coker at 303-720-1403.