Kremmling: Hunter’s disappearance in west Grand County still a mystery
Sky-Hi Daily News
A month after he was first reported missing, the whereabouts of a Denver hunter in Grand County are still unknown.
Dale Banker, 59, of Denver, has been missing since at least Sunday, Oct. 21. No one has seen or heard from him since before that date.
“This is a tough case,” said Sheriff Rod Johnson. “We still believe that we have a missing person in the woods.”
Banker went missing in the Chimney Rock area of western Grand County. After an initial search involving Grand County Sheriff’s deputies, Colorado Division of Wildlife officers and Grand County Search and Rescue, nothing has been found.
“Right now, we are in a waiting mode,” Johnson said. “The area where he went missing is fairly popular area with hunters. We’re hoping some additional information turns up.”
Banker has been missing since Sunday, Oct. 21, when officers were contacted by hunters in a nearby camp who reported that a rifle had been learning against a pickup truck parked along Forest Service Road 103 in the Chimney Rock area. The hunters said they had last seen a man at the truck the previous afternoon.
DOW officers checked the truck and found that it was locked. There was apparently no sign of anything suspicious other than the rifle left outside the vehicle. The officers photographed and took the weapon into custody for safe-keeping.
A subsequent check of records by DOW officers discovered that Banker was the owner of the pickup. They also learned that Banker had valid hunting licenses for the area where his truck was parked as well as an adjoining hunting area south of U.S. 40.
DOW officers continued checking on the vehicle over the week but saw no evidence of any activity or fresh tracks in the snow around it. Finally on Friday, Oct. 26, they contacted the Sheriff’s Office to notify the Sheriff that a pickup truck had been parked and left unattended for several days.
Deputies were dispatched to check out the parked vehicle. They also began a search of the immediate vicinity around the pickup, but discovered nothing. They also unlocked Banker’s pickup where they found another firearm, clothing, a sleeping bag and other personal items.
On Sunday, Oct. 28, a dozen members of Grand County Search and Rescue including four search dogs were sent into the area where Banker’s pickup was found. The teams searched all day, but did not find any sign of Banker.
At the end of the ground search, the Sheriff’s Office had Banker’s vehicle transported to an impound area.
To attempt to find out more information, the Denver Police Department was contacted to request that its officers check and subsequently search Banker’s residence.
“At Banker’s home, maps were found that were marked,” Johnson said. “But they didn’t help much.”
Banker, who apparently had no family or many acquaintances in Denver, was an avid hunter, Johnson said.
“From his background we’ve learned, he did a fair amount of hunting and was an experienced outdoorsman,” he said. “It would not have been strange for him to be able to handle harsh terrain or weather conditions, and he was apparently comfortable being out alone.”
Johnson said the investigation has not turned up any other possible reason for Banker’s disappearance.
At this time, the Sheriff’s Office is still seeking any information about Banker’s possible whereabouts. Anyone with information is asked to call 725-3343.
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