Loved ones left with lingering questions after body is found in JeffCo lake

Problem Solvers

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — After more than a month of agony and searching themselves, a family is learning first responders may have recovered their missing loved one in a suburban Jefferson County lake.

Graham Hebert went missing on New Year’s Day. The 30-year-old suffered from a traumatic brain injury and was last seen leaving his live-in care facility about a mile away from the lake.

The heartbreaking development should bring loved ones closer to closure. However, they tell the FOX31 Problem Solvers they are left with lingering questions about the investigation. 

“It’s not fair, it’s not fair to my brother,” Hebert’s sister Amelie said. 

“I just want to stop working this hard so we can have the support and closure we need for Graham,” his mother, Michelle Bourgeois, said.

Instead of feeling closure Sunday, Hebert’s family battled frustrations about efforts it took to get first responders to search the lake they believe he fell into.

“We’ve been here for weeks searching,” Bourgeois said, adding, “All week this week, we were sledging ice, breaking up ice, wading in the water, just making tons of phone calls to try to get the Jefferson County to say, ‘Yes, we can get divers there. Yes, we have enough information.’”

The Problem Solvers spoke with Mike Taplin, a public information officer from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, on Sunday to address loved ones’ concerns.

Reporter Nicole Fierro: “They found a boot last weekend. Shouldn’t that have been enough to get a team out here?”

Taplin: “For us, we need reliable information to put enough resources to put a dive in. It’s not a safe thing to do, especially like this morning when we had ice over the lake, asking the firefighters to get in here to do a recovery.”

Hebert’s family tells FOX31 they also recently learned deputies picked Hebert up hours before he went missing on Jan. 1 and brought him back to his live-in care facility.

“The detective never told us that but the staff told us Graham and left that morning in not a good state and he wasn’t actually completely dressed and was cold,” Bourgeois said. “They called and asked the sheriffs to pick him up and bring him to the hospital to get assessed.”

“So he was contacted that day,” Taplin tells FOX31, adding, “The deputies checked him he did not show any signs of self-harm or anything like that. There was nothing we could do to put on a mental health hold. We just didn’t have any constitutional right to do anything with him that day.”

FOX31 tried contacting the state facility where Hebert was last seen on several different dates but have not yet heard back.

“We feel for them, we know that they are going through hard times our hearts and prayers are with them and we want to get closure for them as well,” Taplin said. “Anything we could have done, we did.”

“I hope no other family has to go through this,” Amelie said. 

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