Max Knight lived to go to concerts. He traveled across the country to listen to jam bands -- Widespread Panic, Phish, the Grateful Dead.
For Knight, a longtime resident who worked as a cook at Cantina for nine years and more recently began working at Mambo Italiano, traveling to State Bridge on Sunday to join the 400 or so people listening to the Steve Kimock Band was typical, one friend said.
What followed wasn't.
Knight, 30, was found dead early Monday morning in his tent near the State Bridge Lodge.
Later that day, a co-worker at Mambo Italiano, Christopher Mack, 26, turned himself into the Eagle County Sheriff's Office and allegedly said he had strangled Knight to death, Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis said.
Mack was taken into custody on suspicion of second-degree murder and remains at the Eagle County Jail on a $50,000 bond but has not yet been charged with a crime.
But homicide no longer appears to be Knight's cause of death, Bettis said Tuesday. An autopsy Tuesday morning indicated that Knight did not die of strangulation, she said.
The Coroner's Office is waiting for toxicology reports to come back, but Bettis said the autopsy does not indicate a homicide.
Further investigation will be needed before determining the cause or manner of death, which could be accidental, natural or a homicide. The Coroner's Office has ruled out suicide, Bettis said.
Toxicology reports, a standard piece of the autopsy procedure, are expected by the end of the week. Drugs were not found on the scene, but it was obvious people had been drinking at the campsite Sunday night, Bettis said.
Bettis estimated that Knight died between 11 p.m. Sunday and 1 a.m. Monday.
Kim Andree, a spokeswoman for the Eagle County Sheriff's Office, said Mack, who has been assigned a public defender, had not been arrested Tuesday night and was only being detained.
"He thought he had hurt his friend," Andree said. "He is detained until we can determine how (Knight) died."
The two men apparently got into an argument, Andree said.
"(Mack) told us he woke up and his friend wasn't moving, so he thought he had killed him," Andree said.
District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said Tuesday that he won't know whether he will file charges against Mack until the autopsy is complete.
"All I have is preliminary information," Hurlbert said.
Hurlbert said charges won't be filed until later in the week, if at all.
Eagle County authorities found Knight's body when responding to an 8:25 a.m. call reporting a dead man in a tent.
The news of the death left friends and co-workers reeling.
Sarah Stoedter, general manager at Cantina, remembered him as a dedicated friend and employee who loved traveling to listen to bands in his free time.
"We will definitely miss him," she said.
John Stabler was among those who went to the concert Sunday night. The last time he saw Knight was while the band Mountain of Venus was playing after the headline act.
More than 30 Steamboat residents were at the show, and most congregated around two campsites, Stabler said. Late into the night and early morning, Stabler said the campgrounds appeared to be peaceful.
When Stabler left State Bridge on Monday morning, he saw an ambulance drive into the campground, but it wasn't until later in the day, after he had returned to Steamboat, that he learned the ambulance was for Knight, a friend with whom he had shared hotel rooms while traveling to concerts.
"Everybody I talked to is waiting on the outcome to see what really went down," Stabler said. "It just sucks."
Veronica Whitney of the Vail Daily contributed to this report. To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.