Remains of missing Gunnison man found

Suicide suspected

By Toni Todd

A call from a hunter on November 17 led local police to human remains west of Gunnison at North Beaver Creek, several miles northwest of Neversink. Officials believe the remains to be those of 38-year-old Andrew Parr of Gunnison.

Captain Chris Wilson of the Gunnison Police Department said family members reported Parr missing on September 16, and that they’d last seen him on September 12.

Gunnison County sheriff Rick Besecker felt it was premature to confirm the identity of the victim. “We have evidence that supports the mindset that this is the same person [as the man who was reported missing], but we don’t have absolute confirmation,” he said.

Wilson and Besecker report the cause of death is still under investigation.

“Being that far up in the wilderness, for that long a time, it might be difficult for us to determine cause of death,” said Wilson, “but we’re working on that. We really hope to determine the cause.”

However, coroner Frank Vader said he’s notified the family of the likelihood that the remains found were those of Mr. Parr. Vader also said he believes the cause of death to be a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. “When [the family] first reported Mr. Parr missing, they suspected he’d gone up there to commit suicide,” Vader said.

Vader said a couple of weeks ago, someone found Parr’s bike and posted a photo of it on Facebook, which gave police an idea where to look.

“We found his bicycle a ways away from where he was found, but in the same area,” confirmed Wilson.

Vader said that led to a two-day search with dogs, but no results. Then last week, police received the call from the hunter. “That hunter was able to call from the site and actually guided us in,” said Vader.

Wilson said a wallet with an I.D. belonging to Andrew Parr was found near the remains.

“We also found a backpack that matches what belongs to him,” said Vader.

“It was snowing the day we went up,” said Vader. “Probably one of the last days of the season we could have gotten in there.” Vader said it took two hours, driving, then hiking into the remote location. “If it wasn’t for that hunter, it would have been next year before we might have found him.”

If the cause of death is confirmed as a suicide, Vader said this will be the eighth in Gunnison County this year. Last year, he said, a record 10 suicides were recorded for the county.

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