Search suspended for missing hiker

Matt Busker/Special to the Sentinel

Matthew Busker’s vehicle held camping gear — a sleeping bag and camp stove — and his iPhone was plugged in at a charging position when the vehicle was discovered Tuesday in remote, rugged terrain roughly 12,000 feet in altitude, according to San Miguel County sheriff’s investigator Norman Squier.

The battery was dead on Busker’s 1977 International Scout, he said.

Nearly a full week since Busker was last seen in Ouray, there was still no sign of him as of Friday. The Sheriff’s Department said Friday that it was suspending an active search until new leads develop, while foul play is still not suspected.

“(Search and rescue ground team) used technical climbing equipment to access some steep areas they had been unable to reach previously,” the Sheriff’s Department said Friday.

Authorities had been focusing since Wednesday on the Black Bear Road area where Busker’s vehicle was found abandoned, roughly a mile-and-a-half inside San Miguel County. 

Busker, 33, was reported missing Monday and was believed to have had a meal at The Pub, a restaurant in Ouray, last Saturday, June 15. Busker has been described as 5-feet 9-inches tall and 190 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Friends and family have described Busker, co-owner of Grand Junction’s Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu studio, as an experienced camper and an outdoors enthusiast. Busker was enrolled last spring in Colorado Mesa University’s engineering program, school spokeswoman Dana Nunn said.

The investigation to date has turned up no overt threats by Busker to harm himself, Squier said.

Busker had reportedly worked heavily on the 36-year-old Scout. Friends who retrieved the vehicle after it was found Tuesday had to jump-start it and were able to drive as far as Delta before it reportedly broke down and had to be hauled on a flatbed to Grand Junction, Squier said.

Squier declined to specify information gleaned in the case from Busker’s recovered iPhone.

Anyone who may have encountered Busker in Ouray or on Black Bear Pass, which is accessed from Highway 550 at the summit of Red Mountain Pass, is asked to contact Squier at 970- 728-1911.


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