Vehicle and Body Located in Black Canyon

UPDATE 11/3/20

Updated Information Release

On Friday, October 30, 2020, a body was recovered from the Pulpit Rock area in the Black Canyon led by Rick Fellabaum, Chief Investigator of the Montrose County Coroner’s Office along with the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office and the National Park Service (NPS). The retrieval was made possible utilizing a helicopter owned by Hillsboro Aviation from Hillsboro, Oregon and the assistance of crew members from the NPS out of Mt. Reiner, Washington, The identity of the deceased has been confirmed as Walter Kent Jackson, an 18-year-old student of Western Colorado University in Gunnison. Cause and manner of death are pending an autopsy and continuing investigation by the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, the Gunnison Police Department, The National Park Service and the Montrose County Coroner’s Office of Medical Investigation.    

 

Montrose, COLO.—The Montrose County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) has located a body of a young male, along with a 2018 Black Chevrolet Tahoe in a remote area east of Montrose on Friday afternoon.

Montrose County Coroner Dr. Thomas Canfield, M.D., was called to the scene. Based upon the circumstances, the recovered paperwork and the vehicle identification, it is presumed that the body is that of Walter Kent Jackson, an 18-year-old student from Western Colorado University in Gunnison who has been missing since Oct. 19. Cause and manner of death are pending autopsy results and toxicology analysis. The case is under investigation by the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, the Gunnison Police Department (GPD), and the Montrose County Coroner’s Office of Medical Investigation.

Walter Jackson was reported to GPD as a missing person on Wednesday, Oct. 21. An initial cell phone location placed Jackson in an area northwest of Montrose County. The MCSO was called to assist the investigation, and began search efforts in Montrose County. A more specific cellular location technology indicated an area east of Montrose on Thursday afternoon. Further investigation led authorities to the vehicle location. At this time, authorities are waiting for clear conditions to begin recovery operations.

All agencies would like to express their heartfelt sympathies to the family and communities affected by the loss.

Montrose County Fire Restrictions Lifted

Montrose, COLO.—Sheriff Gene Lillard is lifting fire restrictions effective Friday, October 2 at 12:01 am. The decision was made alongside partner agencies including federal lands, weather partners, and surrounding counties in order to avoid confusion when recreating in the region. This affects land within unincorporated Montrose County, and now allows residents to burn as necessary.

The decision was based on fuel moisture measurements in vegetation, predicated weather, and the amount of current fire activity in the county. Residents and visitors are encouraged to use caution when burning.

“Even though fire restrictions have been lifted, I am strongly urging community members to use caution when burning. Please make sure to have water and shovels readily available when burning and always call dispatch at 970-249-9110 before burning,” said Sheriff Lillard. “This year has been a challenge for firefighters and firefighting resources across the nation and I want the public to be mindful of limited resources available due to major fires in both Colorado and the western U.S.”

Please know before you go and visit westslopefireinfo.com for information on restrictions in surrounding areas and the latest fire-related information. To learn more about campfire safety, please visit www.smokeybear.com.

MCSO Reports Increase in Mail and Package Theft

Montrose, COLO.—The Montrose County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) would like to urge residents to be aware of an increase of mail and package theft. The MCSO has received several reports of mail and package theft recently and investigators believe there may be more homes affected. The MCSO is utilizing a bait package to assist in efforts, and so far have been successful in apprehending individuals through this GPS-enabled device. While the vast majority of mail arrives intact, thieves persist in their efforts to steal it and are specifically targeting gifts being sent via mail and package delivery service.

“Unfortunately this sort of theft occurs every year–especially around the holidays–and we are stepping up efforts to let the thieves know this won’t be tolerated in Montrose County,” said Lieutenant Ted Valerio. “We are asking for the public’s assistance in working to prevent mail and package theft by reporting any suspicious activity around mailboxes and paying attention to scheduled deliveries.”

Here are some tips to help protect your mail from thieves:

• Use the letter slots inside your Post Office for your mail, hand it to a letter carrier, or deliver it to one of the local U.S. Post Offices.

• Sign up for delivery alerts offered by many major carriers. For instance, the U.S. Postal Service offers Informed Delivery services that provides a photo of the package (as available; see more info here).

• Pick up your mail promptly after delivery. Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight. If you’re expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.

• If you don’t receive a check or other valuable mail you’re expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.

• If you change your address, immediately notify your Post Office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.

• Keep your mailbox in good repair and make sure it’s properly installed.

• Consider getting a locking mailbox. Ask your local postmaster for the most up-to-date regulations on mailboxes.

• Don’t send cash in the mail.

• Tell your Post Office when you’ll be out of town, so they can hold your mail until you return.

• Report all suspected mail theft to a Postal Inspector. Consult with your local Postmaster for the most up-to-date regulations on mailboxes, including the availability of locked centralized or curbside mailboxes.

If you see a mail theft in progress, please call 9-1-1 immediately. If you believe your mail was stolen, please contact WestCO Regional Dispatch Center at 970-249-9111, then contact the U.S. Postal Inspector at 1-877-876-2455 or report a crime online at https://www.uspis.gov/report.

MCSO Accepting Citizens’ Academy Applications

Montrose, COLO.—The application period is now open for the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office Citizens’ Academy. The academy starts Wednesday, Oct. 7, and will continue for 12 weeks with a graduation ceremony on Jan. 7, 2021.   

 “The academy offers an inside look into the world of law enforcement and the hard work that deputies and staff perform every day while serving and protecting our community,” said Sergeant Steve Gustin.  “Participants will gain knowledge of procedures, policies, and information on supporting agencies including both dispatch and the posse.”

 The classes will be held for 12 weeks, every Wednesday, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  Training will take place at the MCSO—1200 North Grand Avenue—in the conference room.

 Applicants must be at least 18 years of age to attend.  The comprehensive instruction will cover a wide variety of law enforcement issues each week including the following: Sheriff’s Posse, Traffic Stops, DUI Investigation, Response to Resistance, Investigations, Crime Scene and Evidence Collection, Less Lethal, Records & Civil Process, Reception, Victim Services, Procurement, Peer Support, Drug Investigations, Recruitment and Hiring, Field Training Program, K9, SWAT, WestCo Dispatch, and Detentions.   

Due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, class size is limited and applicants are encouraged to submit their applications early.  Applications are available online at montrosecountysheriffsoffice.com or in person at the MCSO (1200 North Grand) during regular business hours.  For more information, please contact Sergeant Gustin at 970-252-4023 or sgustin@montrosecounty.net.

Montrose County Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Start Aug. 20

The unincorporated area of Montrose County will be in stage 1 fire restrictions beginning Thursday, August 20 at 12:01 am. Seasonal high temperatures, worsening dry conditions, and resources committed at major fires across the state were the deciding factors to take this precautionary measure. Additionally, the smoke in the valley has created poor air quality and is challenging for individuals with asthma, COVID-19, and other respiratory conditions.

“We are in a severe drought and measures need to be taken to keep our public lands and community safe,” said Sheriff Lillard. “Resources are limited due to major wildfires across the state, and we do not want to place a burden on an already taxed system. This is the smart and responsible thing to do for our community. We are continuing to work closely with federal land partners and adjoining counties to monitor conditions. We appreciate the public’s help in taking measures to prevent wildfires in our area.”

As Fire Marshal for Montrose County, Sheriff Lillard has the authority to implement and lift fire restrictions as necessary throughout the summer months.

The restrictions apply to the unincorporated county area and do not include the City of Montrose, Town of Olathe, Town of Naturita, and Town of Nucla. The stage 1 fire restrictions do not allow open burning of any kind to include agricultural burning, open campfires, and fireworks. Smoking cigarettes outdoors is not allowed, unless in an enclosed vehicle or building or in a developed recreation site. Campfires in a pre-approved campground, State Park/KOA, or enclosed fire pits are permitted. As a reminder, fireworks on publicly managed lands are prohibited.

Please be advised that penalties for violating the fire ban include: Class-2 petty offense with fines ranging from $100 to $500 depending on the number of offenses. If a fire causes damage to another individual’s property, additional criminal charges may apply. These fire restrictions will remain in effect until further notice.

Montrose County Fire Restrictions Lifted

Montrose, COLO.—Sheriff Gene Lillard is lifting fire restrictions effective Thursday, July 30 at 12:01 a.m. The decision was made alongside partner agencies including federal lands, weather partners, and surrounding counties in order to avoid confusion when recreating in the region. This affects land within unincorporated Montrose County, and now allows residents to burn as necessary. 

The decision was based on fuel moisture measurements in vegetation, predicated weather, and the amount of current fire activity in the county. Residents and visitors are encouraged to use caution when burning.

“Even though fire restrictions have been lifted, I am urging community members to use caution when burning. Please make sure to have water and shovels readily available when burning and always call dispatch at 970-249-9110 before burning. Last but not least, I would like to thank the public for their assistance the past several weeks during restrictions.” said Sheriff Lillard.  

Please know before you go and visit westslopefireinfo.com for information on restrictions in surrounding areas and the latest fire-related information. To learn more about campfire safety, please visit www.smokeybear.com

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