Police: No clues to man's location

Missing man remains a mystery

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After a second day of intense searching, police and rescue workers are no closer to finding a missing Steamboat Springs man.

Jeffrey Fossum, 50, has been missing for about a week. He was last seen May 24 and was reported missing Sunday by a friend.

That night, his car was found parked at a bridge over the Elk River in Hinman Park near the Southfork Trailhead. Campers said it has been there since Wednesday morning, Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said.

The area is a challenging one to search, Routt County Search and Rescue Incident Commander Tim O'Brien said. The area is muddy and rugged, with snow still on the ground above 8,500 feet.

Searchers are looking for the smallest of clues, such as a footprint or a gum wrapper -- "anything that might show that somebody has been in that area," O'Brien said.

Steamboat Springs police Detective Bob DelValle said it is best not to speculate on what could have happened in this sort of case.

"We know where the car is, and he's not there," DelValle said.

Nothing is being ruled out at this point.

The investigation into Fossum's disappearance suggests that he left with only his day hiking shoes.

Fossum, who is a retired financial adviser, is described as an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys mountain and road biking and skiing.

His family and friends say he would not leave for a backpacking trip without telling someone where he was going, Rae said. In this instance, he did not tell anyone he was going camping, nor are there signs that he was packed for a trip.

Also unusual is that Fossum left his two golden retrievers at home, Rae said.

On May 24, Fossum's dogs were reported at large near Bear Claw Condominiums on Ski Trail Lane, and they were taken to the animal shelter. Fossum lives in the 1500 block of Thistlebrook Lane.

Rae said that Fossum usually leaves his dogs in his garage when he goes on short trips. Rae did not know how the dogs got outside.

Routt County Search and Rescue had 16 members searching Monday and 10 searching Tuesday. Dog teams were used both days, and a helicopter was used Tuesday.

The search will continue today with the help of fire and ambulance crews, as well search teams from across the state.

On Monday, Search and Rescue workers scoured both sides of the Elk River for six miles downstream from the bridge, Rae said. On Tuesday, they searched upstream a mile and began an area search that stretched 500 yards from the car, with the goal of covering a half-mile radius.

Interviews with Fossum's friends and family -- his stepdaughter lives in Steamboat, and his son lives in Texas -- suggest his recent contact was not out of the ordinary, Rae said.

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