Tourists’ grisly find

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Department crime scene unit arrives at the west entrance to Colorado National Monument, near the site where a body was discovered Tuesday. “They just happened to stumble across it,” said a sheriff’s deputy of the tourists who reported the body. BELOW: Sheriff’s Cpl. Jamie Pennay takes notes while interviewing a witness.



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The Mesa County Sheriff’s Department crime scene unit arrives at the west entrance to Colorado National Monument, near the site where a body was discovered Tuesday. “They just happened to stumble across it,” said a sheriff’s deputy of the tourists who reported the body. BELOW: Sheriff’s Cpl. Jamie Pennay takes notes while interviewing a witness.

Mesa County Sheriff’s Cpl. Jamie Pennay takes notes while interviewing a witness on Tuesday after visitors found a dead body near the west entrance to Colorado National Monument.



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Mesa County Sheriff’s Cpl. Jamie Pennay takes notes while interviewing a witness on Tuesday after visitors found a dead body near the west entrance to Colorado National Monument.

Tourists at Colorado National Monument reported finding a body Tuesday near the west entrance while they were attempting to take a picture near a park sign.

According to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, the tourists called in the report just before 12:30 p.m. The body was located 300 feet north of the western entrance to the monument and about 10 feet off the east side of the road, on relatively flat ground in the sagebrush.

“They just happened to stumble across it,” Mesa County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Ben Carnes said of the tourists finding the body.

Authorities would not say whether the body is that of a man or a woman, or comment on any distinguishing features or the cause and manner of the person’s death. Carnes also would not elaborate on how long authorities believed the body had been there before it was discovered.

No vehicles were located near the scene when authorities arrived, Carnes said.

Witnesses saw the tourists who had located the body being interviewed by police.

At this point, authorities are labeling the incident an unattended death, which could mean the person died as a result of any number of reasons, including suicide, homicide or natural causes, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said.

However, investigators with the Sheriff’s Department were working out of their crime scene investigation vehicle at the scene. The department’s Draganflyer, a drone used in part to take pictures and document crime scenes, was seen hovering over the area where the body was located.

Carnes said investigators are looking at video footage from cameras around the monument to gather more information about the incident.



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