Autopsy finds missing Eagle County deputy died of self-inflicted gunshot wound

VAIL, Colo. — A Garfield County coroner says a sheriff’s deputy who was the subject of a three-day search last week died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Searchers found the body of 26-year-old Tayler Esslinger in his truck on June 28 in Garfield County. A Colorado National Guard helicopter crew had spotted his vehicle.

Esslinger was an Eagle County deputy and spent 12 years as a volunteer firefighter with the Gypsum Fire Protection District.

The Vail Daily reports Garfield County Coroner Robert Glassmire said Tuesday he ruled Esslinger’s death a suicide.

If you need tips on how to start a conversation about mental health with someone you care about, go to

If you are concerned about a person in your life, you can call the Colorado Crisis Hotline at 844-493-8255.

Other resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255): Speak with someone who will provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn how to help someone in crisis, call the same number.

Colorado Crisis Services Hotline (1-844-493-8255): If you are in crisis or need help dealing with one, call 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255 to speak to a trained professional. When calling Colorado Crisis Services, you will be connected to a crisis counselor or trained professional with a master’s or doctoral degree.

The Trevor Project (1-866-488-7386): A 24/7 resource for LGBT youth struggling with a crisis or suicidal thoughts. The line is staffed by trained counselors.

Colorado Crisis Services Walk-In Locations: Walk-in crisis service centers are open 24/7, and offer confidential, in-person crisis support, information and referrals to anyone in need.

Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline (1-844-264-5437): The best resource for readers to report suspected child abuse and neglect.

The number serves as a direct, immediate and efficient route to all of Colorado’s 64 counties and two tribal nations, which are responsible for accepting and responding to child abuse and neglect concerns. All callers are able to speak with a call taker 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


Information from: Vail Daily,

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