Search for missing hunter in Grand County called off

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Meadow Creek Reservoir.

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — The search for a hiker who went missing in Grand County over the weekend was called off Tuesday, Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson said.

“The search for Richard Kothanek has been suspended and it was a very difficult and sorrowful decision to make,” Johnson said in a statement. “The decision was finalized after debriefing all the searchers and based on the low probability that Mr. Kothanek was able to survive the extreme weather conditions and the low probability of finding him at this point.”

The Grand County Sheriff’s Office said Kothanek, 51, left on a solo hunting/scouting trip on foot about 8 a.m. Saturday and was last seen in the Meadow Creek Reservoir area northeast of Fraser. He was reported missing about 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Grand County Search and Rescue was activated and estimated that 750 man hours were expended over a 48-hour period searching for Kothanek. Four dogs and military helicopters from High Altitude Aviation Training Site from Colorado and Wyoming also were used.

The temperature plunged to minus 16 degrees overnight Saturday, and it was in the single digits the next two nights.

The statement from the sheriff’s office said “there were no sightings or solid clues as to the whereabouts of Mr. Kothanek. … This was an unfortunate incident and we wished we could have found Mr Kothanek. If new developments were to arise we would consider more efforts in the search.

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