Two Buttes

Two Buttes State Wildlife Area in southeast Colorado.

After a four-day search, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers found the body of a missing camper "deep" in a pond behind a dam at Two Buttes Reservoir State Wildlife Area, a recreation area 40 miles south of Lamar in southeast Colorado.

A group of weekend campers reported one of their members missing Sunday night after he was last seen jumping off cliffs near Black Hole Pond, the agency said.

Search-and-rescue efforts began Monday evening after wildlife officers and Baca County sheriff’s deputies found the man's SUV with his wallet, cellphone, keys and other personal items in the wildlife area.

Crews searched the 8,533-acre wildlife area by foot along with a boat and sonar device checking the water, which was nearly 30 feet deep. By Tuesday, teams expanded the search to include four drones, one with a thermal camera, to fly over the area.

The parks and wildlife's Marine Evidence Recovery Team drove from Littleton to take charge of the water search using a boat and waterproof drone equipment that included sonar, lights and a video camera.

The team conducted a grid search Wednesday and Thursday along with Pueblo County sheriff’s volunteer dive team.

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Thursday night, teams found and recovered the man's body using the drone and county officials began an investigation.

Parks and wildlife did not release the man's name as next of kin are in the process of being notified.

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If confirmed a drowning by the coroner's office, it would be the 17th recreational drowning in Colorado this year. Twenty-one people have drowned across the state, including four people who died in July when a flash flood and mudslide in Larimer County tore through Poudre Canyon.

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