FBI divers will continue mysterious river search

One of seven divers with the FBI handles a line attached to metal-detecting equipment Tuesday, during a search of the Colorado River near the Orchard Mesa pedestrian bridge.

FBI divers will resume searching the Colorado River this morning after they came up empty-handed for a second day.

What they are looking for, or why, no one with any of the law enforcement agencies involved is saying.

Seven Washington, D.C.-based divers with the FBI started the first of three dives around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, focusing on the west side of the Orchard Mesa pedestrian bridge, before leaving the water around 4:30 p.m.

FBI special agent John Piatanesi, who is based in Grand Junction, said the divers are using hand-held metal-detector equipment to scour the river bottom, and they are checking items to determine shape when they turn up something. Visibility is low in the chocolatelike waters, Piatanesi said.

Divers on Monday centered their effort roughly 10 yards from the north bank of the river. On Tuesday, they worked the center of the river.

The Grand Junction Police Department enlisted the FBI’s help after developments in an investigation, authorities said. Police confirmed little else about the search or the investigation it could benefit.

Police Cmdr. Mike Nordine said an advance team with the FBI was in Grand Junction about three weeks ago to scout the proposed search area. The search was planned for this week in anticipation of spring runoff, which causes the river to rise and kick up more debris, Nordine said.

The FBI divers are prepared to work through the week, if needed, he said.

Approximately 18 law enforcement and related personnel were involved in the operation Tuesday, including search and rescue volunteers and Mesa County Sheriff’s Department deputies.


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