Thursday, July 28, 2016

UPDATE: Search for missing Delta County woman suspended

Mary Finnegan, 82
Last Seen July 15, 2016
MESA COUNTY, Colo - After spending 5 days combing the Uncompahgre National Forest, searchers have exhausted resources and all leads looking for 82-year-old Mary Finnegan.

In light of the time that has passed since Finnegan was reported missing, and when her car was found as well as the extensive search that was conducted, the search will be suspended at the end of the day today.

"This was a very difficult decision to make. We were really hoping to find Mary and bring some closure to her family," said Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis. "Our searchers are heartbroken, as they really put everything they had into to finding her."

The Mesa County Sheriff's Office remains in communication with Finnegan's family, who has been a part of the search from the beginning.

The Sheriff's Office is committed to resuming the search if more information or new leads come to light about Finnegan's whereabouts.

MSCO crews look over search area
Each day 40 to 60 people actively searching the wilderness where her car was found abandoned on Sunday.

The Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Mesa County Search and Rescue, Mesa County Sheriff’s Posse, Montrose County Sheriff's Posse, Montrose Police Department, Carbon County (Utah) Sheriff's Office, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Civil Air Patrol, local ranchers familiar with the area as well as family members were involved in the search.

All of the resources at our disposal were used including ground teams, experienced trackers, ATV teams, horses, dogs and air resources.

"We can't thank enough all of the agencies and volunteers who have dedicated their time and energy to this search effort," said Sheriff Lewis. "These volunteers took time off from their jobs, and gave up, in some cases, days with their own families to help in the search for Mary Finnegan."

Staging area for search and rescue crews
in Uncompahgre National Forest
It hasn't been an easy task as the entire search area is covered in heavy vegetation. Searchers said the brush was not only difficult to move through, but also nearly impossible to see through. The terrain is very mountainous and physically challenging with steep drop-offs.

The main search was focused on a 5 to 6 square mile area around where her car was found. ATV teams went out about a 20 mile radius.

Finnegan's car was found Sunday morning about 4-5 miles off Divide Road near the Mesa County and Montrose County line.

The car was towed out of the forest Monday and was processed by Mesa County Sheriff's investigators.

Nothing has been found to indicate foul play.

Finnegan was last seen Friday, July 15th at the Rose Bowl Bowling Alley in Montrose wearing jeans, white shirt, blue sweater or sweater vest.

Finnegan is 5'1, 100 lbs, 82 years old, and has dementia.

The Mesa County Sheriff's Office is asking if anyone camping, hiking, or recreating in the area in the last week saw her or something that might be helpful to searchers to please give us a call. You can call us on or tip line at (970) 244-3526.