Wednesday, August 3, 2016

UPDATE: Missing Delta County woman's body found

Mary Finnegan, 82
Last Seen July 15, 2016
MESA COUNTY, Colo - Mesa County Sheriff's Office received word Tuesday evening family members found 82-year-old Mary Finnegan's body in the Uncompahgre National Forest.

Finnegan's family continued searching the area where her car was found abandoned after five days of extensive searching by the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, search and rescue volunteers, and a number of other agencies turned up no clues to Finnegan's whereabouts.

Her body was found just over a mile from where the initial command post was set up and about 3 miles from where her car was found July 24th.

Tuesday, ranchers not part of the search effort, noticed something after going down a four-wheel-drive road looking for items that may have fallen of their truck.
Map of Search area

They immediately alerted Finnegan's family members who were camped out in the area.  Following their tip, family members found Finnegan's jacket under a tree and then her.

Finnegan's body was found about 50 yards off the roadway hidden under thick brush. Deputies responding to the scene said it was incredible she was found, you had to be very close to see her.

"Our hearts go out to Mary's family who worked tirelessly alongside our searchers and remained in the area even after we suspended our search operations," said Sheriff Matt Lewis. "Although this is not the outcome we wanted, I hope this will bring some level of closure to all of Mary Finnegan's family and friends."

Finnegan was last seen Friday, July 15th at the Rose Bowl Bowling Alley in Montrose.

Her car was found abandoned on a four-wheel-drive road off Divide Road near the Mesa County and Montrose County line on July 24th.

Staging area for search and rescue crews
in Uncompahgre National Forest
For the next five days, a massive search operation took place involving ground teams, experienced trackers, ATV teams, horses, dogs and air resources. Each day 40 to 60 people actively searched the wilderness.

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.
MCSO during 
search for Finnegan

The massive search effort covered about 154 square miles and did include the area where Finnegan was found.

MCSO during
search for Finnegan
That area was apart of the secondary search area and was covered by people on ATVs and horseback.

Finnegan was found outside of the primary 7 square mile search area where most of the ground search was conducted.

The area's mountainous and physically challenging terrain made it extremely difficult for searchers. Brush was not only hard to move through, but also nearly impossible to see through.

At this time there doesn't appear to be any signs of foul play.

Finnegan's body was turned over to the Mesa County Coroner's Office. They will be conducting an autopsy this afternoon and will release the cause and manner of death at a later time.