CREEDE—The Mineral County Board of County Commissioners heard from Sheriff Fred Hosselkus on the recent missing persons case during the monthly meeting on Nov. 6.
Hosselkus stated that they still have been unable to find any sign of Matthew Johnston. “I met with his family and they understand what we have tried to do and where we are at. We just don’t know if he’s up there. For all we know he could have abandoned the vehicle and taken off; his life was pretty rough at the time he disappeared so it’s really hard to speculate. Right now, we just have to wait until we have more evidence before we spend any more time looking for clues,” explained Hosselkus.A 9-1-1 call from Johnston’s cell phone came through on Sept. 4 with a garbled messaged of Johnston saying he was lost and thirsty. The call was traced, and his vehicle was found parked at an overlook on Wolf Creek Pass. After the initial search began, teams requested a flight for life team and conducted a backcountry search for the missing person to no avail. Later in the week, SAR teams continued the search with a dog team and infrared cameras that are meant to detect heat sources in the area, including a warm body, to which nothing was found. The search was suspended on Sept. 19 due to a lack of evidence.
Commissioners thanked Hosselkus for the update and agreed that more evidence was needed in order to continue the search.
He finished his report stating that the department is very quiet following the busy summer season. He noted that they will be receiving three more DTR radios to replace some of their older ones. “The good thing is that they are free, and we will have replacements for all of our radios soon,” explained Hosselkus. Commissioners thanked the sheriff and moved on to public comment.
Monday’s meeting also welcomed back Road Supervisor Danny Rogers; he has been absent for several months due to an accident that happened earlier in the spring. Rogers wasted no time in getting back to business and discussing the yearly budget with the board.
Rogers explained that in his absence, County Administrator Janelle Kukuk worked through his budget and that after his review, he felt that everything looked great. Roger opened a conversation with the board about possibly setting aside funding in the budget for a new office building and possible sand shed. According to Rogers, the building in the middle of the road and bridge lot that is used for storage needs to be torn down. “There is a lot of un-needed junk in the cement building in the middle of the lot and it just needs to be torn down. We need a new, dry office where we can have a computer and other supplies,” explained Rogers.
Rogers continued, stating that a building could be placed on the south end of the yard with the possibility of a new sand shed near the north end of the yard near the fuel tanks. Kukuk asked Rogers if he wanted the funds budgeted in this year’s budget or 2019, to which he responded that the building was needed now. After some further discussion on the matter, Commissioner Jesse Albright suggested the board consider increasing the amount from about $20,000 to $60,000 to allow for some wiggle room when building the new structures. The board agreed with Albright and the budgeted numbers were changed.