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Former Durango attorney, playwright found dead north of town

Coroner identifies man found Sunday
Jeff Deitch, shown here in 2014 acting in a play he wrote, was found dead Sunday north of Durango. According to the county coroner, Deitch died by suicide.

The La Plata County Coroner’s Office has identified a man who died by suicide last weekend as Jeffrey Deitch of Durango.

Deitch, 60, was found dead by hikers about 10 a.m. Sunday on a trail between Haviland and Electra lakes. He died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, said La Plata County Coroner Jann Smith.

A pistol was found in the area; no foul play is suspected, she said.

Deitch, a former attorney, was the playwright and director of “Lies, Shame, and Self-Medication: A Durango Love Story,” a collection of seven one-act plays about moral ambiguity and how people deal with it. The plays were presented in May 2014 at the Henry Strater Theatre.

“This play is my reflection of not only life in Durango but on American life,” he said in a 2014 interview uploaded on Vimeo. “... This is my attempt to make people laugh and cry and think and reflect.”

An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.


For help

Help for people having suicidal thoughts or for those who fear a person is considering killing himself or herself is available from these sources:

Axis Health System

: 24-hour crisis hotline at (970) 247-5245.

National Suicide Prevention hotline: (800) 273-TALK (8255).

RED Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: (888) 628-9454.

Boys Town Hotline: (800) 448-3000.

Safe2Tell Colorado: (877) 542-7233 or online at



Colorado Crisis Services

Support Line: (844) 493-8255. The line has mental-health professionals available to talk to, live chat or text adults or youths in English and Spanish about any crisis.

May 21, 2022
Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight