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Thread: Mitchell Dale Stehling's (51) remains found 7 years after he went missing at Mesa Verde National Park, CO

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    Don't drink sanitizer! raisedbywolves's Avatar
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    Mitchell Dale Stehling's (51) remains found 7 years after he went missing at Mesa Verde National Park, CO

    I've followed this case for awhile on a blog. It was like he just disappeared into thin air. I am glad they finally found him. Wonder why it was an anonymous tip though?

    https://www.nationalparkstraveler.or...nal-park-found

    Seven years after a Texas man vanished while on a hike at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado his remains have been found.

    Mitchell Dale Stehling, 51, had set out in June 2013 for a short hike to the park's Spruce Tree House, a 130-room archaeological site with eight ceremonial chambers, known as kivas. The man's wife, Denean Stehling, speculated that her ?directionally challenged? husband, hiking without water or a map on a hot and sunny day, might have been misled by a sign pointing to the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum and inadvertently went off trail.

    A family spotted him on the nearby Petroglyph Point Trail. This 2.4-mile-long, narrow, and rocky path requires hikers to clamber in places up a stone staircase to reach the top. There are places along the trail where it wouldn?t be hard for someone to wander into the backcountry.

    The family told Stehling?s wife they leapfrogged past one another and were together at the petroglyph panel 1.4 miles from the trailhead, but they never saw him afterwards. Neither did anyone else, though later there were reports from a hiker on the Petroglyph Point Trail who claimed to have heard someone calling for help.

    Mesa Verde officials announced Friday that an anonymous tip led to the discovery of human remains in a remote area of the park. Park law enforcement rangers, with assistance from ISB and Montezuma County Coroner?s Office, located and retrieved the remains on Thursday.

    "Personal items located with the remains are consistent with identification, and the presumptive identity of the remains is that of Mitchell Dale Stehling," the park said in a release. "DNA analysis will be performed to positively identify the remains. There is no indication of foul play. The remains were found approximately 4.2 miles from the point where Stehling was last seen."

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    Senior Member kevansvault's Avatar
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    Ugghhhh. That would happen to me, directionally challenged is my middle name. My wife? No. Homegirl can be blindfolded, put in a cargo hold, and dropped off in Tunisia and still find her way home.

    Shit.

    At least now his family has some closure. It sucks that it took so long, and that the calls for help were not followed up on.
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    Senior Member Bewitchingstorm's Avatar
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    Here is the reason for the anonymous call (found on FB):

    StrangeOutdoors.com
    the area of the park was closed. They were hiking illegally.

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    Don't drink sanitizer! raisedbywolves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bewitchingstorm View Post
    Here is the reason for the anonymous call (found on FB):
    Ah, makes sense. I was wondering if maybe it was someone growing marijuana illegally or something like that since that occurs a lot in State parks.

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    https://the-journal.com/articles/188185

    At this point, foul play is not suspected, Deavers said, and it does not appear he was attacked by an animal.

    Because all that remains are bones, Deavers said it is likely impossible to determine a cause of death, unless Stehling had obvious signs of trauma, which he does not.

    “Just from what I saw, (I’d say) natural causes,” he said. “But we’ll look everything over.”

    It’s unclear if a DNA test is possible. To take DNA from a bone sample, the bone must have retained some moisture. Many of the bones found at the scene were bleached, but it’s possible there is still some moisture in them.

    If a DNA test is possible, Deavers said it would take about a year to get results back.

    Deavers said Stehling’s remains were found by a hiker in an area that is closed to the public. His remains were found at the bottom of a canyon, and it is believed that is where he died.
    In a prepared statement, park spokeswoman Cristy Brown said the remains were found about 4.2 miles from the point where Stehling was last seen
    Spencer, speaking to the Herald on Thursday, said an anonymous tip came in Wednesday that indicated the remains of Stehling were in a remote section in the park, west of Durango.

    Search and rescue crews found the remains later that afternoon. Spencer indicated that the area had been searched when Stehling first went missing in June 2013.

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