Family of 4 killed in Rifle area plane wreck identified

The Makepeace family in a provided photo

Garfield County officials have identified four people who died in a private plane crash Saturday morning north of Rifle as the Makepeace family of Fort Collins.

Jeff Makepeace, 47, Jennifer Makepeace, 45, and Addison and Benjamin Makepeace, both 10, were killed when the aircraft they were traveling on went down in the Baxter Peak area nine miles north of Rifle, according to the Garfield County Coroner’s Office.

Jeff Makepeace, who was born and raised in Naples, New York, owned Lind’s Plumbing and Heating in Fort Collins, according to a statement released by extended family Sunday morning.  Jennifer Makepeace, nee Hickey, was born and raised in Fontana, California, and was a stay-at-home mother.

Addison and Benjamin were fourth-graders at Bauder Elementary School in Fort Collins.

The family’s dog was also onboard the plane and was killed in the wreck, the statement said.

“Our family’s hearts have been broken by this tragic accident,” the statement said. “Our grief cannot be defined and will be prolonged. But our memories of this amazing family will last forever.”

The family was flying from Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport to Moab Utah when the plane went down. Searchers located a large debris field and determined there were no survivors in the wreckage. The sheriff’s office has not yet released information about what they believe caused the crash.

Baxter Peak is in the rugged, remote wilderness in the Flat Top Mountains north of Glenwood Springs and Rifle. The peak itself reaches heights of more than 11,100 feet.

Civil Air Patrol and Classic Air assisted the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office with the aerial search, and ground crews mobilized Saturday to reach the site.

In their statement, the Makepeace and Hickey families thanked the sheriff’s and coroner’s offices for their compassion and service.


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