The body of Moab resident Casey Menuey, 33, was recovered from the Colorado River on Saturday, June 14, more than a week after he disappeared while on a rafting trip with friends.
National Park Service rangers and San Juan Sheriff’s deputies located Menuey’s body on Saturday, seven miles downstream at approximately 10:30 a.m., near river mile marker 15, at Monument Basin, San Juan County Sheriff Rick Eldredge said this week. Menuey disappeared June 6, after becoming separated from his rafting party while they were stopped at Lathrop Canyon to look at ancient ruins.
David Pitzer, who was among the seven people on the rafting trip, told The Times-Independent last week that three people had hiked up to the ruin and Menuey headed up the trail later but never met up with the group. They searched for him until dark.
The next morning, the National Park Service was alerted. Investigators discovered Menuey’s footprints and an area where it appeared he crawled through the dense tamarisk on the riverbank to reach the water.
Menuey was not wearing a life preserver at the time he disappeared and alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor, Eldredge said.
“Based on what the people we interviewed told us, the whole group, especially Casey, had consumed large amounts of alcohol,” Eldredge said.
Investigators believe Menuey may have become disoriented, or was looking for his friends.
“We think maybe he was trying to swim across the river to get to the other side where there was no tamarisk,” Eldredge said.
Eldredge said the fast-moving current – the Colorado was running at about 10 miles per hour that day – and the 60-degree temperature of the water would have made it nearly impossible for Menuey to reach the opposite bank.
Fidelity Exploration and Production Operations Supervisor Mark Curtis worked closely with Menuey at the company’s Moab office, and he praised him as a great person and a wonderful family man. Menuey was married and had a daughter and two sons.
“He will be missed around here not only as a great worker and contributor but as a friend,” Curtis said. “He worked closely with our pumpers and construction guys and we’re all going to miss him.”
Memorial donations to the family may be made to the Wells Fargo Casey Menuey Memorial Fund Account No. 974513795, or directly to the family. Funeral services for Menuey will be held in Powell, Wyoming, on Friday, June 20.
ByBy Lisa J. Church