UPDATE on the 15 year old found dead. This account provides a bit more information, but still leaves unanswered why the boy was where he was found and how he died. Was he distressed or depressed? Where drugs involved? Why did he die? Is the regulation that delays searching for a possible runaway for 48 hours a sound one?
4/6/11 by Isabelle Zehnder
Police classify missing CañonCity, Colo. teen a runaway; family finds his body
Cañon City, Colorado -- Cañon City City Police Monday said they are investigating the death of a missing 15-year-old boy whose body was found by his family during a search Monday; the boy was initially classified by police as a runaway.
Fremont County Coroner Dr. Dorothy Twellman released the name of the teen Tuesday, The Mountain Mail reports. Tristen Daniel Hagen went missing April 2 and was found at around 5:30 p.m. Monday evening by family members searching atop a ridge near Skyline Drive in Cañon City.
Dr. Twellman did not release a cause of death.
Cañon City Police reported they took a runaway report Saturday. Investigators from the Fremont County Combined Investigator's Response Team have assumed the lead in the investigation.
Cañon City Police Chief Duane McNeill says the boy had three cell phones on him: his own, his father's, and a newly-purchased cell phone.
Investigators will check text messages and phone call history to help them with their investigation.
Concern was raised that it took police 48 hours to search for this boy because they believed he was a runaway. In missing teen cases it is customary for police departments to wait until the child has been missing for at least 48 hours before they begin searching or investigating their cases.
"Concerned Parent" posted this comment to a KKTV.com article:
"It might have helped if the police or search and rescue would have gotten involved right away--but they said they had to wait 48 hours, which is sad and should be changed.
"This may have had a different ending if this was posted on the news and more people could have looked for him and known about his disappearance.
"I applaud the family and friends that posted flyers in the area just after his disappearance. My heart aches for this family and especially his mother."
Chief of the Cañon City Police Department Duane McNeill said the boy lived with his mother in Buena Vista and was reported missing on Saturday after visiting his dad in Cañon City during his spring break.
Preliminary information received by police indicated the teen may have developed a relationship with a Cañon City woman.
Officers have spoken with the woman and she told them she knows the teen from her contact with family members but was not aware of where he was or where he might be.
Family members told police the teen liked hiking in the hills around Skyline Drive.
Family members had searched the Skyline Drive area known as "the hog backs" Sunday but were unable to locate the teen.
On Monday the family was assisted by Fremond County Search and Rescue. At about 5:30 p.m. Monday Tristen's body was found by family members on the top of one of the ridges east of Skyline Drive.
"We have what appeared to be a perfectly healthy 15-year-old kid who suddenly died," McNeill said. "We're at point where we still have some unanswered question."
Autopsy results are expected Tuesday afternoon and police hope they will shed some light on the circumstances surrounding the boys death.
There were no outward signs of trauma, and at the moment police do not suspect any foul play, McNeill said.
Cañon City Police say they are conducting their own forensic investigation, reading over text messages, and investigating phone calls made from the three different phones.
Police tell 11 News that they are following a few leads based on information discovered in the phone, but nothing that points to foul play.
Police said they pulled the phone records to try and establish a time line between when the boy arrived in Canon City and when he died.