Body recovered from gorge, questions remain

By John Miller
jmiller@taosnews.com
Posted 2/6/20

After nearly three weeks of weather-related delays, a body spotted below the Río Grande Gorge Bridge has been recovered, and a crew of Taos County public safety workers has yet another costly, risky mission into the canyon under its belt.

You have exceeded your story limit for this 30-day period.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Body recovered from gorge, questions remain

Posted

After nearly three weeks of weather-related delays, a body spotted below the Río Grande Gorge Bridge has been recovered, and a crew of Taos County public safety workers has yet another costly, risky mission into the canyon under its belt.

But this one came with complications - beyond the snowstorms that rendered the gorge too dangerous to enter before the mission was green-lit on a clear day last Thursday (Jan. 30).

While the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator had not positively identified the remains as of press time Wednesday (Feb. 5), Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said a tattoo on the body's leg matched a description of a tattoo on Donald Ayon, a man who was reported missing in Alamosa, Colorado, in January and is tied to a homicide investigation there.

The sheriff's office found Ayon's vehicle parked at the Gorge Bridge rest area when the body was discovered. Hogrefe and his undersheriff, Steve Miera, believe Ayon is almost certainly the person pulled out of the gorge last week, but are waiting for the state to make the official call.

Two of Ayon's family members had contacted the Taos News for updates on the recovery in January, also suspecting their family member was in the gorge, but they had not responded to phone calls requesting comment as of press time.

Alamosa Police Chief Ken Anderson had also not responded to a request for an update on the homicide Ayon may be tied to as of press time. A press release his office published on Jan. 6, noting that an unidentified woman was found dead at 321 Edison Avenue, Alamosa, has not been updated since mid-January.

Ayon's connection to the crime, if any, remains unknown.

The sheriff's office completed three recoveries in the gorge last year, each costing several thousand dollars to complete and involving at least a few county agencies, including county medics and local firefighters.

Last week's mission marks the first of 2020.

"And the last," Hogrefe said hopefully as he stood on the bridge on Thursday (Jan. 30).

The body, zipped up in a white body bag by three officers who had climbed down into the canyon early that morning, was being raised to the railing with a tow truck winch. A deputy wearing white gloves leaned on the railing waiting to grab hold of the basket.

"I'd rather be anywhere else right now," Hogrefe added.

Comments


Private mode detected!

In order to read our site, please exit private/incognito mode or log in to continue.