Update (7/17/15 6:58pm):
The Pitkin County Sheriff's Department confirmed today that a recent body recovery involved missing Aspen local William Graham.
The following is a press release from the Pitkin County Sheriff's Department:
For Immediate Release: Deceased person identified as missing Aspen local William Graham
Aspen local William Graham was found deceased in the Roaring Fork River after being missing for six weeks.
Pitkin County, Colorado – July 17, 2015 – On July 16, 2015 the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Aspen Fire Department, recovered a body from the Roaring Fork River. The body was recovered near the Weller Lake Trailhead, which is downstream from the Devil’s Punchbowl on Independence Pass. Today, an autopsy was performed and has confirmed the identity of the person to be missing local William Graham.
Graham went missing from the Devil’s Punchbowl area on June 4, 2015. Immediately after his disappearance, a search and rescue team was deployed to look for Graham. A search of the river and the riverbanks near the Punchbowl was conducted, but yielded no immediate results. On July 16, 2015 the Sheriff’s Office was notified by a hiker of a body in the river near the Weller Lake Trailhead.
Graham’s cause of death has been classified as undetermined. However, the manner of Graham’s death was accidental and the autopsy confirmed there was no foul play involved. Evidence points to the probability that Graham drowned.
Graham was a U.S. Army veteran and a beloved community member. The Sheriff's Office offers their condolences to the family.
Authorities recovered the body of what is believed to be Aspen native Will Graham from the Roaring Fork River yesterday.
Just before 1:00 pm, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office was made aware that there was possibly a deceased person in the river somewhere up Independence Pass. Recreationalists at the Weller trailhead parking lot spotted the body and called authorities.
A deputy was sent to the Weller Trailhead parking lot to search the river in that immediate area. The swift water recovery team from the Aspen Fire Department assisted in the recovery. All rescue personnel were out of the field by 8:00 pm.
Graham, 31, went missing June 4. He is believed to have jumped into the Devil’s Punchbowl and drowned in extremely high water. The Weller area is less than a mile down river from the Punchbowl.
His car was found in the area and some of his personal items were left on a rock above the river, which set off a three-day search. The punchbowl is a popular place to cliff jump just off of Highway 82 near Independence Pass.