Body lifted from Black Canyon likely missing student

MONTROSE — A body recovered by helicopter from Black Canyon on Friday is likely that of Mark Young Jr., 21, who was reported missing Tuesday.

The body had not been positively identified, Dr. Thomas Canfield, Montrose County coroner, said Friday, but “circumstances are consistent” in showing the body is Young’s.

Canfield was on hand when a helicopter carrying the body in a suspended litter landed near the entrance of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park at 12:15 p.m. A hearse arrived a short time later.

Canfield said he would not sign a death certificate until positive identification was made from results of an autopsy at Montrose Memorial Hospital and a forensic investigation.

National Park Service ranger Angie Richman said the body was recovered about 100 feet from the bottom of the canyon below Chasm View Overlook. The canyon is more than 1,800 feet deep at that spot, she said.

Young’s truck was found Thursday parked at Chasm View Overlook.

After a six-hour search for Young on Thursday, park rangers spotted the body and hiked to the site, Richman said. Rangers hiked back around 8 a.m. Friday to secure the body for transport.

An obituary received by the Daily Sentinel on Friday from Crippin Funeral Home in Montrose seems to confirm that the body is that of Mark Young Jr.

The obituary states that Mark David Young Jr. died Tuesday near Montrose. He was the son of Mark Young Sr. and Christine Hufman Young, and stepson of Mary Young. He was a 2006 graduate of Montrose High School and was in his third year at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley,  where he was majoring in political science.

As National Park Service ranger Linda Alick stood near the area where the helicopter brought the body Friday, she said deaths in the canyon affect park employees profoundly.

She said many park employees knew Mark Young Sr., a former Montrose County coroner and a pilot with the Civil Air Patrol who has conducted many search and rescue operations in the canyon.

“He’s been doing that his whole adult life,” she said. “But I’m glad he’s not here today.”

Eighteen people have died in Black Canyon since 1960, Richman said.

In February 2007, the body of Holly St. John, 17, of Montrose, was found about 1,200 feet below Gunnison Point, near the park’s visitors center. With no evidence to the contrary, her death was deemed an accident.

In 2002, Martin Larsen, 49, committed suicide by jumping from Canyon View Overlook, Richman said, and in 1997, kayaker Charles Kern, 27, drowned in the Gunnison River at the bottom of the canyon.

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