Bloody gear found in river close to body, advocate says

Willard Michael “Mike” Bobbitt

Hours before the discovery of a man’s body in the Colorado River, a pair of transients Wednesday pulled a blood-soaked sleeping bag from a nearby section of the river, according to a Grand Junction homeless advocate.

Jacob Richards, with Housing First! No More Deaths!, said he was told the discovery happened around 6 a.m. at a transient camp roughly one-quarter mile downriver from the Fifth Street bridge, which was where authorities said a passer-by reported the body around 5:30 p.m.

Richards said the transients recovered the sleeping bag, which was described as filled with blood, after it got snagged on something on the riverbanks. They hung it out to dry and later turned it over to police, he said.

The transients who made the recovery called Richards on Wednesday night, and neither said they knew the man who had died, Richards said.

Grand Junction Police Department spokeswoman Kate Porras said Thursday that she couldn’t confirm nor deny Richards’ account. The department Thursday classified the case as a homicide.

The Mesa County Coroner’s Office completed an autopsy Thursday, but it didn’t release the man’s identity or cause of death. The Police Department, in a news release, identified the victim as Mike and provided a photo of the man but declined to release his full name.

According to the news release, police and the coroner’s office “feel we have an opportunity to gain important information regarding this homicide, so we are releasing limited information on the victim in hopes of generating leads ...”

Anyone with information about the man’s death, or anyone who may have seen anything suspicious during recent days near the bridge, is asked to call a non-emergency line for dispatchers, 242-6707.

Police on Wednesday called the death suspicious, in-part citing the body’s position and the proximity of several items, which were not specified.

Porras on Thursday said the positioning of the body, which was found in the river underneath the bridge, was “odd.”


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