Authorities ‘pretty positive’ body not missing kayaker’s

Authorities in Garfield County are continuing to try to determine the identity of a man whose body was found by rafters in the Colorado River east of Rifle Saturday.

Lanny Grant, a deputy county coroner, said an autopsy was performed today and the death probably will be deemed an accidental drowning.

He said fingerprints were taken Tuesday and authorities may know more Wednesday after they are compared to a fingerprints database.

He said investigators haven’t altogether ruled out the possibility that the body might be that of Uriah Shaffer, 39, who was presumed drowned May 31 when his kayak overturned in the Crystal River near Marble.

But he added, “We’re pretty positive it is not.”

He said that’s largely due to differences in physical features between the two men.

Searchers were unable to find Shaffer’s body in the days following his kayak accident. The Crystal flows into the Roaring Fork River, a tributary of the Colorado, and authorities consider it unlikely but not necessarily impossible that Shaffer’s body traveled as far as the Rifle area.

Grant said the man whose body was found Saturday was Caucasian and probably about 50, older than an initial estimate that he was somewhere around 30.

Authorities have no other missing-person reports around Garfield County that they think could be linked to the recovered body.


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