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'Mummified' Bodies Discovered Near US Campsite, Coroner Releases Haunting Details

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It’s a haunting story out of a little-populated area in Colorado — where three individuals who might have intended to stay in a remote campground were found in a state described by authorities as “mummified” and “heavily decomposed.”

On Wednesday, the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office — which is responsible for law enforcement in the heavily rural county of fewer than 16,000 people, according to U.S. Census Bureau data — announced via a media release that a hiker had stumbled upon the bodies in a remote part of the remote region.

“On Sunday, July 9th, 2023 at approximately 4:57 PM, the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a person who was hiking in the area of the Gold Creek Campground and discovered a remote campsite with a heavily decomposed deceased individual within the camp,” the statement, attributed to Undersheriff John Ashe, read.

“At approximately 8:02 AM on Monday, July 10th, 2023, Investigators with the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office located the campsite and discovered two additional heavily decomposed deceased individuals within the campsite. It appeared the individuals have been deceased for a substantial period of time,” the statement added.

“The identities of the deceased individuals are not being released at this time. The cause of the three individual’s deaths is pending the completion of an autopsy. There are no known risks to residents or outdoor enthusiasts recreating in the area associated with this unfortunate event. No further information at this time.”

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On Thursday, Grand Junction television station KREX-TV reported that the Gunnison County Coroner had determined “the three individuals began long-term camping in around July 2022 and attempted to stay through the winter.

“Early evidence suggests the group may have intended to live there permanently. As of now, the coroner suspects the three died of malnutrition and exposure. The official cause of death is pending the conclusion of the forensic autopsies,” the station reported.

While the coroner believed the deceased campers might have been related, their condition was such that a comparison of dental records will be required before names and genders are released.

Do you think there was foul play involved in these deaths?

Gunnison County Sheriff Adam Murdie told the Montrose Daily Press that it didn’t appear that foul play was involved. The bodies weren’t in an established campsite, but rather an individual campground located about 1,000 feet from the Gold Creek Campground, “in dark timber, tucked far back in the hills,” the outlet reported.

“It does not appear there was trauma to the bodies, other than what looked like mummification, almost. They had been there probably at least throughout the winter,” the sheriff said.

The Colorado Sun, meanwhile, reported that authorities found “a blue tent, empty food cans and a lean-to shelter at the campsite.”

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Sheriff Murdie said that the area in which they were found received several feet of snow over the winter, which might have caused the campers’ death or contributed to the advanced state of decomposition.

“Whether they froze to death in the winter or the combination of starved or froze, that’s what it sure seems like,” the sheriff said, according to a report from CBS News.

“This is not a typical occurrence anywhere, by any means,” he added, saying that authorities are trying to “determine what they were actually doing there and why.”

“This is bizarre,” Murdie said, according to the Colorado Sun. “We don’t normally get calls of this nature out of this nature in areas of the county like that. Of course nobody does.”

CBS noted that the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office “is looking for missing persons reports that might shed light on the situation but hasn’t found any yet, he said, adding that the coroner won’t release the identities of the deceased until their next of kin have been notified.”

It is, indeed, a grim case — and a reminder that the power of nature and God’s creation, beautiful though it indeed might be, isn’t to be taken lightly.

The exact details of how and why these individuals met their fate may never be known, especially given the advanced state of “mummification” and the remote nature of the campsite. What is clear, in the absence of any evidence of foul play, is that this is likely a result of poor planning and lack of respect for His creation.

That said, our thoughts and prayers are with this group of campers and their friends and relatives — whoever they may be. We can only hope that further information can bring them closure.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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