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Autopsies are pending for three decomposed bodies after a hiker in western Colorado made a grim discovery at a remote campsite. 

The hiker found one body Sunday evening about 1,000 feet from a campsite near the Gold Creek Campground in Gunnison County, north of Ohio City. Gunnison County sheriff’s deputies then found two more bodies the next day. 

The bodies were discovered in a dark patch of timber and all three were in “major stages of decomposition,” Gunnison County Sheriff Adam Murdie said Wednesday morning. 

“This is bizarre,” Murdie said. “We don’t normally get calls of this nature out of this nature in areas of the county like that. Of course nobody does.”

The bodies were impossible to identify, Murdie said, estimating they may have been at the campsite since the fall. Investigators finished their investigation of the site and are waiting for autopsies to be completed to identify the bodies and determine the cause and manner of death. 

Investigators found a blue tent, empty food cans and a lean-to shelter at the campsite, Murdie said.

“It was a very basic camp,” he said. 

The hiker saw the camp and thought it was “out of place” before seeing one of the bodies on the ground in front of the tent, Murdie said. Investigators found the two other bodies inside the zipped-up tent, according to The Associated Press.

Murdie described the site as “very remote” and not visible from the dirt county Forest Service road that leads to the area. The U.S. Forest Service lists the campground as closed “due to inaccessibility” and as a “haven for hikers, backpackers and equestrians” with alpine lakes nearby. 

The campground is on the southeastern edge of the Fossil Ridge Wilderness and northeast of Gunnison. 

The sheriff’s office said it does not believe there is any risk related to the incident to residents or people recreating in the Gold Creek area.

Murdie said his office has been trying to find missing persons reports that match the scenario, but have not found any. There have not been any missing persons reports made locally, he added.

Olivia Prentzel is a general assignment writer based in Colorado Springs for The Colorado Sun, covering breaking news, wildfires and all things interesting impacting Coloradans. Before joining The Sun, Olivia covered criminal justice for The Colorado Springs Gazette. She’s also worked at newspapers in New Orleans and New Jersey, where she grew up. After graduating college, she lived in a tiny, rural town in southern Madagascar for three years as a Peace Corps volunteer. When not writing, Olivia enjoys backpacking and climbing Colorado’s tallest peaks.