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 Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office Press Release – Missing Person Ian O’Brien

On 09-02-23 at 1:40 pm, the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office was notified that a human body had been discovered by two persons fishing in the remote area of the West Mancos River in the Echo Basin area of the San Juan National Forest.


On 09-07-23, an autopsy was conducted through the Montezuma County Coroners Office and positive identification was made that determined that the human body found was that of missing hiker Ian Thomas O’Brien, age 28 from Page, Arizona, who was reported missing on 06-25-23, after he failed to return to his camp in the Echo Basin area. The cause and manner of death was determined by the Montezuma County Coroner to be accidental drowning.


An extensive search was conducted in the Echo Basin and Hesperus Peak area by Montezuma County Search and Rescue and LaPlata County Search and Rescue along with the US Air Force, Classic Air, and numerous volunteers.


His parents, Tom and Laura O’Brien have asked to include the following: “It is with a heavy hearts and a sense of deep relief the we announce that Ian O’Brien has been found. On the afternoon of September 2, a group of fishermen found him below Hesperus Mountain. Local authorities have positively identified this individual as our son Ian. While this is not the outcome any of us wanted, we are at peace that we have found him and it gives us closure. On behalf of the O’Brien family and Ian’s partner Beth Henshaw, we want to thank with love and appreciation, the hard work of the Montezuma Search and Rescue, Montezuma Sheriff’s Office, the Montezuma Coroner’s Office, and the multitude of friends, family and others that we do not know that came to aid us in trying to rescue and recover our loved one”.


Steven D. Nowlin, Sheriff

Montezuma County, Colorado