UPDATED OCT. 5, 7:30 p.m.
Missing Boys Found in Phoenix
by Watch Staff
Oct 05, 2011 | 7778 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Danny Eberly
SAN MIGUEL COUNTY - Two Telluride boys missing since Sunday were found in Phoenix late in the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 5.

According to a press release from the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office,

Christopher Ihinger, 12, and Danny Eberly, 14, both of Telluride, were last seen in Big Gypsum Valley on 20R Road, also known as the Dolores River Road, on Sunday, Oct. 2, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., near a boat ramp on the Dolores River. The two are now in the custody of the Phoenix Police Department.

No details were released about how the boys traveled from the site of their disappearance, from a remote area in the west end of San Miguel County, to Phoenix. But sheriff’s investigators had reported earlier Wednesday that it was highly probable the boys had planned to run away, possibly to Arizona, prior to their disappearance.

The boys, who told Phoenix police they had run away, driving the truck belonging to Ihinger's father Adam to Phoenix, were apprehended by the Phoenix Police Department after being suspected in the commission of several crimes.

The vehicle has not yet been recovered, according to the report, "as the boys claim they cannot remember where they left it."

The boys were last seen on Sunday, October 2, on 20R Road, in extremely rugged terrain, near the Dolores River boat ramp at the west end of Big Gypsum Valley. They had arrived in the area that morning with Christopher’s father, Aaron Ihinger, and a rock-climbing partner. While the two men climbed, the boys stayed with the truck, by the Dolores River. When the adults returned, after climbing, the truck and the boys were gone.

The SMSO search for the boys included an extensive air search with fixed wing aircraft and a helicopter as well as ground searchers on foot, ATV and by vehicle.

A parallel investigation was conducted, as well, including interviews with the boys’ friends which led investigators to believe the boys may have used the climbing trip as a springboard for running away to Arizona.

The SMSO would like to thank the following agencies for their assistance: The U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Departent of Wildlife, Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, Dolores County Sheriff’s Office and the friends and families of the missing boys.

Published on Thursday, Oct. 5.

SAN MIGUEL COUNTY – San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office deputies have been searching by land and air for two boys, ages 12 and 14, who went missing at the west end of San Miguel County on Sunday, but the search is temporarily grounded because of bad weather.

Christopher Ihinger, 12, and Danny Eberly, 14, both of Telluride, were last seen in Big Gypsum Valley on 20R Road, also known as the Dolores River Road, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., near the boat ramp.

The boys arrived with Christopher’s father and Danny’s stepfather at the area on Sunday morning, according to the Sheriff's Office. The father and stepfather went rock climbing in the area for most of the day. When they returned, after 4 p.m., both the boys and the vehicle were gone. The men hiked for several miles, and then hitchhiked to the Town of Norwood, just over an hour away, and contacted the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office.

The truck is described as a white Ford F150 (Colorado license plate 801 RBH) with damage to the right rear door. The father contacted the Sheriff's Office just after 7 p.m. that evening to report the boys missing. The investigation began right away; on Monday morning an extensive ground and air search was conducted and continued throughout the day.

A fixed-wing aircraft was used on Monday but it was grounded because of rainy weather, said Sheriff Bill Masters, who fears the boys may have had an accident. “If the (vehicle) is upright we could probably spot it from the air,” he said. “But if it’s upside down, the bottom would blend with the ground.”

Masters said he is not sure what may have happened to the boys, but he is very concerned for their safety, especially given current weather conditions in an isolated area with no cell phone service, and where travel of any kind was difficult after heavy rains earlier this week. He said all-terrain vehicles were being used for the search.

“The roads are basically impassible by any kind of vehicle and yesterday (Monday) some of the arroyos filled with water,” he said.

The helicopter that was brought in for closer ground searches was also grounded as of noon Tuesday, he said.

Masters also raised the possibility that the boys were no longer in the area.

“It’s a tough area, but certainly with all the searching we’ve done, my assumption might be that they left the area with the vehicle, but I’m very concerned,” he said.

A nationwide alert has been sent out for the boys and the vehicle, Masters said, but he also needs the public’s help. He asked that anyone who was in the area on Sunday contact the San Miguel Sheriff’s Office at 970/728-4442, even if they didn’t see anything.

He said he would especially like to talk to anyone who might have seen the boys and the white Ford truck, as well as a black SUV that was seen in the area.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jennifer Dinsmore said that four San Miguel deputies as well as an officer from the Bureau of Land Management were taking part in the search. One deputy is in the helicopter and the other three are on the ground. Dinsmore said she had not spoken with searchers on Tuesday because of the lack of cell phone service in the remote area. If the truck or boys are spotted in an area where the helicopter can’t land, vehicles will be sent in, she said.

The Sheriff’s Office is also investigating reports that the boys may have made plans to run away prior to the Sunday outing. The search of the western portion of the county where the boys went missing continues today, despite these reports, in case the boys are taking refuge in one of the many mines in the area.

Dinsmore said trying to track the boys’ cell phones hasn’t panned out;there has been no credit card activity and no sign of foul play, and rescuers still hope to find the boys.

“We’re hoping to send out a news release that they are rescued,” she said.

POSTED TUESDAY, OCT. 4
Deputies Searching Isolated Area for Missing Telluride Boys

Christopher Ihinger and Danny Eberly Were Last Seen on Sunday on Dolores River Road Near Boat Ramp



SAN MIGUEL COUNTY — San Miguel Sheriff’s deputies have been searching by land and air for two boys, ages 12 and 14, who went missing at the west end of San Miguel County on Sunday, but are temporarily grounded because of bad weather.

Christopher Ihinger, 12, and Danny Eberly, 14, both of Telluride, were last seen in Big Gypsum Valley on 20R Road, also known as the Dolores River Road, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., near the boat ramp.

The boys arrived with Ihinger's father and Eberly's stepfather at the area on Sunday morning, according to the Sheriff's Office. The father and stepfather went rock climbing for most of the day, in the area. When they returned, after 4 p.m., both the boys and the vehicle were gone. The men hiked for several miles, and then hitchhiked to the Town of Norwood, just over an hour away, and contacted the Sheriff’s Office.

The truck is described as white Ford F150 (Colorado 801 RBH) with damage to the right rear door. The father contacted the San Miguel Sheriff's Office just after 7 p.m. that evening to report the boys missing. The investigation began right away; on Monday morning an extensive ground and air search was conducted and continued throughout the day.

A fixed-wing aircraft was used on Monday, said Sheriff Bill Masters, who fears the boys may have had an accident, but it was grounded because of rainy weather.

“If the (vehicle) is upright we could probably spot it from the air,” he said. “But if it’s upside down, the bottom would blend with the ground.”

Masters said he is not sure what may have happened to the boys, but he is very concerned for their safety, especially with the current weather conditions in the isolated area with no cell phone service and where travel of any kind was difficult after heavy rains earlier this week.

“The roads are basically impassible by any kind of vehicle and yesterday (Monday) some of the arroyos filled with water,” he said.

The helicopter that was brought in for closer ground searches was also grounded as of noon Tuesday, he said.

Masters also raised the possibility that the boys were no longer in the area.

“It’s a tough area, but certainly with all the searching we’ve done, my assumption might be that they left the area with the vehicle, but I’m very concerned,” he said.

A nationwide alert has been sent out for the boys and the vehicle, Masters said, but he also needs the public’s help. He asked that anyone who was in the area on Sunday to contact the San Miguel Sheriff’s Office at 970/728-4442, even if they didn’t see anything.

He said he would especially like to talk to anyone who might have seen the boys and the white Ford truck, as well as a black SUV that was seen in the area.

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