Family resigned to man’s drowning

21-year-old missing since canoe capsized

Dan Korthuis kept vigil at Crawford Reservoir on Tuesday, where he watched cadaver dogs on the job.

The Delta father has learned more in recent days than he ever cared to know about what the dogs are trained to do, and how they do it.

“We’ve been out here every day since 7 a.m. last Thursday,” Korthuis said during a telephone interview Tuesday.

Tyler Korthuis, 21, the oldest of Dan and Beckie Korthuis’ four children, is presumed dead and remains the focus of a recovery effort after a canoe accident on April 15.

Strong winds that afternoon are believed to have capsized a canoe Tyler shared with a friend, Stacy Bjerk, 22, of Nucla. Bjerk managed to swim ashore, where he contacted other boaters for help.

The two friends were out on a fishing trip.

“There’s no reason to presume anything other than (Korthuis) drowned,” Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee said.

Mesa County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said the agency today will send two boats, two deputies and a search and rescue volunteer to assist with the recovery effort.

A Colorado State Parks spokeswoman said the reservoir will be closed to boating indefinitely as the search continues.

Tuesday’s efforts on the reservoir came as Korthuis’ family sent a death notice to The Daily Sentinel.

“He would have gotten in touch with us the very second he was coherent,” Dan Korthuis said of the family’s decision to schedule a memorial.

Services will be 10 a.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church of Delta. The family asks that memorial contributions go to benefit the wrestling team at Delta High School, 1400 Pioneer Road.

A 2005 graduate of Delta High, Tyler Korthuis left town bound for Alaska’s Bering Sea, where he dreamed of owning his own commercial fishing boat.

He returned to visit family just a few days before the April 15 accident. Tyler’s mother had declined an invitation from her son to join the fateful outing.

“He lived a dangerous life,” Dan Korthuis said. “We always expected we’d get a call from Alaska, not Crawford Reservoir.”


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