No clues in Michael Rust's disappearance as the months pass
Posted: Thursday, Jul 23rd, 2009
Authorities continue investigation
By ERIC MULLENS
ALAMOSA — Months have passed; the snow covered hard packed ground has soften in the Valley with the arrival of high summer, but a chill hangs over a Colorado Springs extended family and the rural Saguache County of Michael Rust, missing since the night of March 31, 2009.
Despite a $25,000 reward for information that leads to the recovery of the missing man, and a Crime Stoppers reward for up to $1,000, no information has been forthcoming.
“There hasn’t been one big lead in the case,” said Saguache County Sheriff’s Investigator Mark Werts on Thursday. Earlier in the week Saguache County Sheriff Mike Norris said he couldn’t remember when a case with this large of a reward didn’t prompt any tips to authorities. And that is where the missing persons case stands.
No leads have come in and investigators continue to conduct interviews and work with Rust’s family and private investigator Jerry Mosier; checking up on any information they are able to provide about Rust and what may have happened to him.
Sheriff Norris conducted an interview regarding the case yesterday and Werts has two more scheduled next week. In addition to those, 11 other interview reports are in the now three-inch thick Rust case file.
Saguache authorities also remain at the mercy of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation backlog; awaiting DNA results and other findings on evidence recovered and yet to be processed by the state agency.
A vest recovered near Rust’s home and splattered with blood is one of the items at the state crime lab in Pueblo, Colo. The blood on the vest has been confirmed as Rust’s, due to initial processing at a private laboratory paid for by the sheriff’s office. The vest will also undergo processing by technicians looking for other material such as hairs or fibers. Saguache investigators are also awaiting the findings on blood evidence recovered from the motorcycle Rust was believed to have been riding the night he disappeared.
That motorcycle was found by a Villa Grove, Colo. area family camping May 3, 2009 in the San Isabel National Forest Cotton Creek area. The red and white Honda CRF 230 was discovered above the Cotton Creek trailhead near Saguache County Roads DD and 65, about three drainages South of Valley View Hot Springs. That location is almost directly due East across the San Luis Valley from Rust’s home in the Rattlesnake Hill area northeast of Saguache.
In May when the motorcycle was recovered a cadaver dog, trained to find human remains, was worked extensively on the entire side of the mountain but nothing was found. Ten field investigators also searched the area at that time but didn’t turn up any clues.
Investigators, including a motor vehicle accident reconstruction expert from the Colorado State Patrol have said it appears the motorcycle was thrown or placed where it was found intentionally, and not as a result of a traffic mishap.
In the early evening of March 31, 2009, Rust supposedly returned home from grocery shopping and something he observed led him to believe his home may have been broken into. A friend of his in Salida, Colo. received a telephone call from him saying he thought his home had been burglarized and he was going to follow some tracks. It isn’t known if Rust was referring to footprints, or tracks made by a motor vehicle of some kind. Investigators say Rust made that cell phone call from his car and then returned home, got the Honda motorcycle, and went back out on the trail of the tracks.
He has not been heard from since.
Michael Rust is a 56-year old white male with blue eyes and grey hair, beard and mustache. He is 5’ 9” tall and weighs 140 pounds.
Anyone with any information is urged to call Saguache County Sheriff’s Office at 719-655-2544, San Luis Valley Crime Stoppers at 719-589-4111 or Jerry Mosier-private investigator at 719-221-3462.