Grand County Sheriff’s Office continues search for missing man

Ari Harms, a white man in his thirties, has not been seen since witnesses say he got in an inflatable kayak on the Colorado River on May 28.
Grand County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy photo

The Grand County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a missing person case for a man who was last seen May 28 at the Pioneer Park campground in Hot Sulphur Springs. Deputies responded May 29 to a report that a car at the campground that should have left its campsite was still there. 

The campground’s host told deputies that other campers had seen the campsite’s occupant, later identified as Ari Harms, a white male in his thirties, get into the Colorado River with an inflatable kayak May 28. 

No one has reported seeing Harms since then, but the sheriff’s office stated in an email to Sky-Hi News that a citizen found a kayak May 29 matching the description of the one Harms was seen with when he entered the Colorado River. The person found the kayak on the west end of Byers Canyon, which is opposite Pioneer Park campground, and the sheriff’s office now has the boat.

Sheriff’s deputies and Grand County EMS searched the river in Byers Canyon and surrounding areas, but were unable to locate Harms on May 29. On May 31, air and ground search operations led the sheriff’s office to close the Colorado River through Byers Canyon and intermittently close U.S. Highway 40 through the canyon during air searches in the morning.

After an unsuccessful search Wednesday, crews continued their efforts Thursday. The river closure remained in place.

The missing person search and investigation is ongoing, and flyers were distributed in the area. The sheriff’s office stated in an email that it appreciates citizens offering their help, but they are only using trained first responders for the search due to safety concerns.

If you have seen Harms, call the sheriff’s office nonemergency phone at 970-725-3311.

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