Search for Jeffrey Fossum resumes


Searchers looking for a missing Steamboat Springs man will resume the search Saturday after a shoe that was identified as belonging to Jeffrey Fossum was found July 12 along the Elk River in North Routt.

Fossum, 50, has been missing since May 24 after he failed to return from a day hike. The search for Fossum was called off June 2, but volunteers periodically have been searching areas along the Elk River where Fossum is thought to have vanished.

The shoe was found by a ranch employee on the bank of the Elk River and was turned in to the Sheriff's Office, where Fossum's son, A.J. Fossum, 20, positively identified the shoe as his father's.

Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said that several other articles of clothing were found during Saturday's search of the area but that none of the items were identified as Fossum's. Searchers found an extra-large fleece pullover and other items, including a softball bag that Rae estimated had been deteriorating for some time.

"These guys pick up every clue there is," he said.

A.J. Fossum was asked to identify the items, as he had done with the shoe that was turned in.

A.J. Fossum said he is glad that searchers found something in his father's case and is hopeful that more people will come out and help with the search Saturday.

"I was worried they weren't going to find something," he said.

So far, A.J. Fossum has not been allowed to participate in the search and is living in his father's home until he returns to Texas for school.

Jim Vail of Routt County Search and Rescue said that this weekend's search would include several people on foot, boats and kayaks searching the Elk River. A water search dog team also could participate.

Vail has contacted search and rescue officials in Jackson, Wyo., and Missoula, Mont., about helping with the search and is waiting to hear back from them.

"We have depleted our resources in this area," he said.

Vail hopes there will be a strong turnout for Saturday's search and expects about 20 people, either boaters, kayakers or people on foot, to assist in the search.

Vail said that searchers are expected to cover the Elk River from Hinman Park on Seedhouse Road, where Fossum's car was found the day he was reported missing, to the Glen Eden Resort on Routt County Road 129 and then down a four-mile stretch of the river.

Searchers are asked to meet at 8 a.m. Saturday, at the Clark fire station, where the search is being staged.

"I would like to search as far as possible and search the Yampa River, as well, but I don't know if that is going to be possible," he said.

Vail said that searchers will be looking for anything that might show Fossum was in the area, such as articles of clothing.

Routt County Undersheriff Dan Taylor said that the area the searchers intend to cover is located on private property and that landowners have been notified that people will be searching Saturday and possibly Sunday.

"Everyone is being very cooperative," he said. "Hope-fully, this search will be productive."

Taylor said the shoe that was found is leading searchers to conclude there is a strong possibility that Fossum is in the river, though investigators are not speculating about the missing man's fate.

"We hope to bring this search to an end, but we'll certainly keep looking," he said.

Vail said that the Elk River has dropped quickly and that the boats may have some difficulty getting through some of the more shallow parts of the river, but he said that overall conditions should be good for the search.

"The (searchers in) boats can see things that the searchers on the bank can't and can also search the deeper pools in the river," he said.

Rae said the investigation into Fossum's disappearance will be "ongoing until we find him."

Searchers will analyze the results of Saturday's search and come to a conclusion before making a plan for a possible Sunday search.

-- To contact Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail


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