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Crews scale back search for Texas man

Herald Staff report

The search for 51-year-old Mitchell Stehling, missing from a hiking trail at Mesa Verde National Park since June 9, has been scaled back because of a lack of clues and new information, said Betty Lieurance, public-information officer.

On Friday, the trail where Stehling was last seen and nearby canyons were searched again, Lieurance said in a news release. Stehling is from Goliad, Texas.

Rangers used the park’s helicopter to search the canyons and mesas while ground-based teams thoroughly searched nearby canyons and trails, she said.

The saturation of this area by searchers, dog teams, a helicopter and horse patrol provided a great deal of coverage, but resulted in no clues, Lieurance said.

On Saturday, search managers scaled back to a continuous but limited mode in which a small team of rangers will continue to focus their search in the areas where Stehling was last seen, Lieurance said.

Fliers with Stehling’s picture and description remain posted throughout the park. Visitors who hiked the Petroglyph Trail on June 9 or June 10 are asked to call park law enforcement at 529-4422.

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