As of Monday evening, search-and-rescue teams were unsuccessful in their quest to find missing Pagosa Springs resident David Ritchie, who was last seen about 9:30 a.m. Friday.
He wandered off into the San Juan National Forest near the Archuleta-La Plata County line, one quarter mile east of Beaver Meadows Road.
His son, Daniel Ritchie, speculated that new medication his father was taking to treat depression and insomnia contributed to feelings of paranoia and caused him to take flight.
The family had stopped about 10 miles northeast of Bayfield, at the home of friends William and Liz Anderson, while en route to Durango to seek treatment for Ritchie’s symptoms. Liz Anderson said Ritchie suddenly left the stationary car and walked into the woods.
A group of about 50 volunteers, mostly friends of Ritchie, started searching immediately on Friday.
An Archuleta County Search and Rescue team joined the effort Sunday and Monday, with assistance from a TriState CareFlight helicopter on Monday, but incident commander Jesse Morehouse said no verifiable sign of Ritchie had been seen.
“We had three unconfirmed sightings that possibly match his description, but nothing solid,” Morehouse said.
Ritchie is 5 feet 7 inches tall, 160 pounds and has a goatee. He was last seen wearing a green, long-sleeved T-shirt that was torn in the front, khaki shorts, tennis shoes and a green baseball cap.
Unless any firm evidence of Ritchie’s presence is found, Morehouse said Archuleta County would possibly call off its teams today.
He expected family members and friends to continue searching.
“(Ritchie) is obviously extremely well-loved by a large number of people. The turnout of his friends has been amazing,” Morehouse said.
Liz Anderson agreed.
“The volunteers are very dedicated. We’re blessed to have them,”
Anyone with information should call (970) 884-5280.