By Kat Russell, The Gazette
A Colorado sheriff’s office is investigating after the remains of a Cedar Rapids man, missing about eight months, were found in a rural area in the northeast part of the state.
According to a news release from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the remains of Craig Vagle, 57 were found Aug. 12 near a county road about 13 miles outside the small town of Akron, Colo., which is about two hours east of Denver.
An autopsy Aug. 13 concluded there were no signs of foul play. The sheriff’s office declined to release Vagle’s cause of death, but said the investigation was concluded and no charges would be filed.
Vagle was reported missing to Iowa authorities in December, according to the sheriff’s office. The Cedar Rapids Police Department said Vagle was reported missing by a family member Dec. 30.
About a month later, Colorado State Patrol found his abandoned vehicle on Interstate 76 near Sterling, Colo. The vehicle eventually was returned to Iowa, the sheriff’s office said.
Three months later, the sheriff’s office said, it received word from a neighboring law enforcement agency that Vagle reportedly had been heading to a warmer climate when he disappeared.
The following month, the sheriff’s office — with the help of the Otis Volunteer Fire Department, Washington County Emergency Management, Logan County Sheriff’s Office and the Sterling Fire Department — searched near the area Vagle’s vehicle was found.
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A message posted in a missing persons Facebook page on Jan. 15, by a woman who identified herself as Vagle’s niece, stated Vagle “has a history of mental illness” and had not taken his medications since Dec. 29.
“We don’t know where he is,” her message reads. “He hasn’t been in contact with family since before New Years, (and) he may be confused and disoriented.”
A second message posted on Facebook on Jan. 15, by a woman who identified herself as Vagle’s sister, read, “We pray for his safe return where he is loved without reservation.”
Cedar Rapids public safety spokesman Greg Buelow said Vagle apparently had a history of disappearing. Based on that and the autopsy findings, he said local authorities will not open their own investigation into Vagle’s death.
“There was not any indication that this was suspicious, but rather that he left of his own accord,” Buelow said in an email to The Gazette. “There is no indication of foul play, so there is no further investigation that is planned.”
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