Sunday, March 31, 2013

THE CURIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF WILLIAM WORLEY

August 9, 2010 in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent:

"An extensive search for a missing Carbondale man ended Saturday after four days of searching challenging terrain near Redstone, the small town south of Carbondale on Highway 133."



This past week I was out shopping for an ATV.  I was talking to one of the salesmen and the subject of Search and Rescue teams came up.  I mentioned the curious disappearance of Jack Gordon.  The salesman related a story of a friend of his who disappeared near Redstone in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado a couple of years ago.  Here is the story of William Worley.

Worley, 61, (originally identified as a Redstone resident) was reported missing Friday, July 30 [2010].  A search began Wednesday, Aug. 4, after his car was found at the East Creek trailhead near Redstone the prior evening.
Here is a Trails.com description of the East Creek Trail.
A challenging day hike to the Avalanche Creek divide or a backpack to Avalanche Creek. This little-known trail climbs high over the valley wall above the Crystal River to provide access into the Avalanche Creek drainage. Though steep and challenging, it rewards visitors with fine vistas of the high, granite peaks that make up the western end of the Elk Mountains.



The search soon focused on an area about of about two square miles, comprising extremely steep hillsides with very heavy vegetation.  No trace of Mr. Worley was ever found.

The man who told me about Mr. Worley was involved in the search and described the terrain as incredibly dense and steep.  He thought it very likely that Worley had slipped or fallen from the trail, down a steep hillside and was in such a location as to be undiscoverable.  Friends and authorities all seem to agree that foul play was not a consideration.  They do not consider it at all credible that he went off to "start another life" somewhere.  Worley was reportedly an experienced outdoorsman who hiked and cross country skiied frequently and knew the area very well.

Interestingly, after the initial four-day search was called off there was a hiatus of a couple weeks and then suddenly the search was re-started.  The renewed interest in the search was prompted by some heavy rains that resulted in mudslides in the hills above Redstone.  A water rescue team searched along a stretch of the Crystal River without any results. 

To this day a final determination has not been made in the case of William Worley.  Those close to the case consider it most likely that he is deceased, of accidental causes.  Anyone with information related to the disappearance of William Worley is encouraged to call the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office at (970) 920-5300.



R.I.P.
WILLIAM WORLEY
2010

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