DENVER – Authorities recovered a body from the Black Hole pond at Two Buttes Reservoir State Wildlife Area Thursday night four days after a camper from Broomfield went missing there.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife said Friday that CPW officers, along with deputies from Baca and Pueblo County, recovered the body after days of searching with boats, sonar and drones in the pond’s murky water.
Eben Bartholomew’s friends reported him missing late Sunday. The group had been camping in the area and swimming in the pond below the nearby dam in southeastern Colorado.
The search of the 8,500-acre wildlife area and 30-foot-deep pond took days after CPW officers and Baca County sheriff’s deputies found the man’s SUV with his wallet, phone, keys and other personal items inside.
On Tuesday, four drones, including one with a thermal camera, searched the area by air. CPW’s Marine Evidence Recovery Team (MERT) brought a boat and submersible drone to conduct the water search, which continued through Thursday alongside the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office dive team.
The MERT found the body late Thursday night. The Baca County Coroner’s Office will make the positive identification of the victim and determine a cause of death.
“This is a tragedy and we offer our condolences to the family and friends of the victim,” said Todd Marriott, CPW’s Area Wildlife Manager for the Lamar region. “Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to be injured jumping from the cliffs into the Black Hole. And it’s another sad example why we urge everyone to wear life jackets when in or near the water.”
CPW says if the person is confirmed to have drowned, it would be the 17th recreation drowning this year in Colorado.