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Search for Missing Man Called Off

July 17, 2023

The story of Ian O’Brien inspired dozens of volunteers to search for the missing hiker daily. Together, they covered 12,000 acres of wilderness. But, after weeks of searching, O’Brien’s family has called the effort off. By Connor Shreve. This story is sponsored by FASTSIGNS and Southwest Health System

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The search for missing hiker Ian O'Brien is over, business and tourism officials say summer travel season in Mesa Verde Country is off to a strong start, and turn your canine into a calendar cutie at ZU Gallery. You're watching the "Local News Roundup," brought to you by Fastsigns and Southwest Health Systems. I'm Connor Shreve. After weeks of searching for missing hiker, Ian O'Brien, family and friends are calling the community-led effort off for now. On June 24th, O'Brien was reported missing after he did not return to where he was camping with friends. This, after a day hike up Hesperus Peak in the La Plata Mountains. Local organizers did continue a daily search for about two weeks after formal search and rescue efforts were called off. Friends and family believe O'Brien's epilepsy led to his disappearance. He did leave camp with his medication, but a seizure could have led the experienced survivalist and outdoorsman to disorientation. For weeks, dozens to nearly 100 volunteers were dispatched to search for O'Brien and a GoFundMe for the search totaled nearly $100,000. Officials say it has been a strong start to the summer tourism season in Cortez, Dolores, and Mancos. Mesa Verde Tourism Coordinator Brian Bartlett says this has been the best start to summer in 10 years. 2021 was naturally one of the best years for tourism in recent memory with people eager to get out after the spring and summer COVID lockdowns of 2020. But in a release, Bartlett says he believes this summer is giving 2021 a run for its money. The Montezuma Heritage Museum was on pace to nearly double its visitation from May to June. One likely reason for the boom, water sports. With rivers and lakes as high as they've been in many years, many people are coming to enjoy time on the water. If you think your dog has what it takes to be a calendar cutie, there's an open casting call at ZU Gallery. The gallery is looking for dogs to photograph for its second annual Montezuma Mutts Calendar. So if you think your pooch can pose, the open call is scheduled Sunday, July 16th from 9:00 a.m. until noon at ZU Gallery. Dogs must be well-behaved and leashed, and owners must reside in Montezuma County. You can find the details on the gallery's website. Learn more about this and other stories at Thank you for watching this edition of the "Local News Roundup." I'm Connor Shreve.


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