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Goliad man's disappearance in Colorado park remains mystery
by Coy Slavik, Advance-Guard Editor
Jun 18, 2013 | 5253 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This is the Spruce Tree House, close to where Goliad’s Dale Stehling was last seen June 9.
This is the Spruce Tree House, close to where Goliad’s Dale Stehling was last seen June 9.
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One week after a 51-year-old Goliad man disappeared after going on a hike at Mesa Verde National Park, family and park officials are baffled that an extensive search has not uncovered any clues to his safety or whereabouts.

Mitchell Dale Stehling told family members during the afternoon of June 9 that he was going to hike to the Spruce Tree House in the Colorado park and never returned.

Park public information officer Betty Lieurance said Monday that it unusual for hikers to be missing for more than five hours in the area. She said investigators had not ruled out foul play.

Lieurance said family members were still at the park Monday.

The search over a two-mile radius was scaled back Saturday after no clues or new information was obtained. Rangers used the park’s helicopter to search the canyons and mesas of the park while ground-based teams thoroughly searched nearby canyons and trails. The saturation of the area by searchers, dog teams, a helicopter, and horse patrol provided a great deal of coverage, but resulted in no clues, according to a park news release.

Flyers with Stehling’s picture and description remain posted throughout the park.

National Park Service personnel were assisted by Dog SAR Colorado. NPS personnel were assisted earlier in the week by Montezuma and La Plata County SAR teams, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the San Juan National Forest Hot Shots.

The park spans 52,000 acres of rough terrain.
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