On Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, hunters in the Sawmill Mesa area of the Uncompahgre Plateau west of Montrose reported the finding of skeletal material believed to be human remains. The Montrose County Sheriff's Office and the Montrose County Coroner's Office of Medical Investigations with the help of the Montrose County Sheriff's Posse recovered bones and fragments of clothing. A forensic autopsy was ordered by Montrose County Coroner Dr. Thomas M. Canfield, MD and performed by Dr. Michael Benziger, MD at the Montrose Memorial Hospital Forensic Laboratory. The bones were considered consistent, but not definitive, as those of Gerry "Hoop" Reed, 56, of Nucla.
A forensic anthropological examination was ordered by Dr. Canfield and performed at the University of Northern Texas Human Identification Forensic Laboratory. That examination is complete and confirmed the identity as that of Mr. Reed. The cause of death is hypothermia due to exposure and the manner of death is certified as accidental.