Update: Missing Leadville CMC Student Colton Wilson
By Kathy Bedell, ©Leadville Today
“As far as we know, there’s nothing criminally wrong,” said Lake County Sheriff Rod Fenske in an interview with Leadville Today on Monday. “He wasn’t taken off the campus.”
Late yesterday, an update was issued, stating that “possible sightings over the weekend have been reported to the Lake County Sheriff’s office suggesting he is safe, and all leads are being pursued.”
However, as of today, Colorado Mountain College (CMC) student Colton Wilson, 19, of Norman, Okla. is still a Missing Person.
Wilson moved to Leadville several weeks ago to attend CMC. In fact, he was one of the 79 students who started the semester, living in Mountain View Residence Hall on the Timberline Campus, according to the school’s Vice President James Taylor. The Leadville campus has a total of 343 students enrolled at the college, some full, some part-time.
Last week, that number changed.
According to a press release issued by Lake County Deputy, Sgt. Scott Bird on Jan. 31, Wilson was last seen on security camera, leaving his dorm at 1 o’clock in the afternoon on January 29, 2015. He was wearing plaid pajama pants and loafers.
From there, the trail grows a bit cold, explains Sheriff Fenske, “It’s frustrating.”
Wilson’s car was found in the dorm parking lot, and there is no evidence of foul play. But as the story unfolds and the details fill in, the student’s disappearance becomes more “situational,” rather than a matter of public safety.
According to law enforcement, Wilson was reported to be at a local party in town, on the night of Jan. 28. Apparently, Wilson spoke with his father in Oklahoma that same night, but Colton was unable to be reached the next day. Concerned, his father drove out to Leadville, arriving Friday, Jan. 30 when he began the search for his son.
The next day, Jan. 31, a formal Missing Person report was filed with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, activating certain protocols, including an alert. It didn’t take long for the social media platforms to help spread the word about this missing student.
That same day, Sheriff Fenske activated a Lake County Search and Rescue crew, who conducted a search of “the back of the college area.” There was no evidence of Wilson having been out in the area, nor any signs of criminal activity.Colorado Mountain College, Timberline Campus in Leadville.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office considers the investigation “active,” and continues to interview students, staff and anyone who may have had contact with the student around the time he went missing, including the other people at the party last Wednesday night. Nothing unusual has come out of the investigation, so far.
Sheriff Fenske explained it this way: “When you have a person that’s lost on the mountain, you basically know where to look. When you have a missing person, you first look to see if there’s anything criminally wrong. If you don’t find anything criminally wrong, then you question, where the person may have gone. Right now, we are just trying to track him down and see where he went.”
Social Media, particularly Facebook, was also a successful tool in relaying information about the case.
On Sunday, Feb. 1, the CMC Leadville campus issued the following statement via its Facebook Page:
The Lake County Sheriffs Office is searching for a Colorado Mountain College Leadville campus student, Colton Wilson, who has been reported missing. Our thoughts and prayers are with Colton and his family, and we are hoping he will be found soon, safe and sound. We are providing support to our students in this time of concern, and are connecting them to additional resources if needed. We ask that anyone who has any information about Colton’s whereabouts please contact the sheriff’s office directly.
CMC’s Taylor stated that he joined Leadville’s Dean of Student Affairs, Skip Lee, and a representative from CMC’s central services, to meet with local residential students on Sunday, to answer questions and provide support. We let them know that “this was a situation of a student with an internal struggle, rather than a student who was a threat to other students.”
By Monday, Feb. 2, the Lake County School District (LCSD) also became engaged in the process. For those who may not know, the LCSD offers a dual enrollment program through the college, with 38 Lake County High School students currently enrolled in CMC classes. So, as a precautionary measure, and to squelch parent and students’ concerns about the investigation, LCSD administrators released the following statement on their website:
Maintaining our students’ safety is our most important job as a school district. We have been in communication with Colorado Mountain College regarding a college student who is currently reported missing from the Leadville campus. We have several Lake County High School students who are dual enrolled at LCHS and CMC, and who travel to CMC for class. As with all of our students, their safety is our primary concern. CMC has shared the following information with us:
“The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the recent disappearance of Colorado Mountain College student Colton Wilson as an isolated case of a missing person, and has no reason to believe that anyone on the CMC-Leadville campus or elsewhere in the community is in any sort of imminent danger. If anyone should have information on the whereabouts of this student, please contact the Sheriff’s Office at 719-486-1249.”
We will actively work with CMC and will keep you informed if there are any impacts for our dual enrolled students. We encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns you have. LCHS Principal Christina Gosselin can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 719-486-6970; Superintendent Wyman can be reached by emailing email@example.com, or by calling 719-486-6800. Thank you for your support of our schools!
The Sheriff stated that Wilson’s father has returned to Oklahoma and that his family is anxious to hear any news about Colton’s whereabouts. Leadville Today’s attempts to contact his family were unsuccessful, but welcome any communication at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for any updates regarding this story, and as mentioned, contact the Sheriff’s office with any leads about this case: 719-486-1249.
October Sex Assault Case Investigation Update
The following press release was issued by Public Information Officer Betty Benson on Feb. 2 regarding the Sex Assault Investigation Case which occurred on Leadville’s Mineral Belt Trail on October 11, 2014:
“The Leadville Police Department continues to investigate the October 2014 Mineral Belt Trail (MBT) reported assault to the full extent of information available. The police request that anyone who has any viable leads or substantiated information to please step forward and provide that information.
Law enforcement has a process they must follow when investigating such a case. These steps include a thorough investigation over time, including several interviews with everyone involved, performing all tests appropriate to the situation, and sending such tests and evidence to Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for verification.
CBI testing and verification of evidence can take up to a year to complete. While there were people of interest in the area, no suspect has been identified based on the information and descriptions provided. Once all facts and evidence are substantiated, the case is then forwarded to pursue charges. At this time, there is insufficient information and evidence to allow District Attorney Bruce Brown to pursue. At this point CBI has not returned the results, there is insufficient information to make an arrest, and additional sources of information are not available.
The Leadville Police Department patrols the MBT access points regularly. Anyone walking at night anywhere in the city limits should be aware of their surroundings and have a plan to request help if needed.”
Restorative Justice Training Available Here Feb. 13
The program drew a strong crowd across the board, from law enforcement to youth program coordinators to educators.
The event was coordinated by Rohan Roy, the Restorative Justice and Outdoor Leadership Program Director at Full Circle, and now he’s ready for community members to take the next step.
On Friday, Feb. 13 there will be a training session for people interested in becoming involved in Restorative Justice at the Leadville and Lake County level. Lynn Lee a facilitator and trainer with the Pikes Peak Restorative Justice Council will be conducting the session from 4 – 8 p.m. The training is FREE and will be limited to 15 participants. Please contact Roy Rohan to RSVP as soon as possible, or if you have any questions about the restorative justice program. Office: (719) 486-2400 ext 14, Cell: (719) 293-0739.