Last July, a Grand Junction, Colo. man left for work in his Ford F250 just like he did every day. But Jonathan Keith Kelly, 54, wasn't going to work. He was driving to a remote corner of the state to end his life.
Authorities say he'd left word with his family that such was his intent, but he hadn't said exactly where he was going. Yesterday, after months of searching by local and federal authorities and by Kelly's family members, his brother found the body.
Kelly had left his house on July 27, driving to the sparsely populated West End of San Miguel County, in Colorado's southwest corner, a high desert area known for its cliffs and rocky terrain. After U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and San Miguel County, Colo. search and rescue teams had launched numerous air and ground searches over the summer, BLM officers finally found his truck in October.
It was Kelly's brother who found his sibling's remains this week. According the San Miguel County Sheriff's Office, Kelly's brother searched the area on his own, finding the body tucked between a boulder and a cliff wall, beneath an outcropping. The exact cause of death is pending the San Miguel County Coroner's investigation.
"It's a shame that this guy caused so much pain and trouble for his own family," said San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters. "If it weren't for his brother, we may have never found him."
Just to give you an idea how far away from anything he was, Kelly had ventured 20 miles west of the Basin Store — a middle-of-nowhere bar and general store on an unpaved road about 18 miles away from the nearest tiny towns — to commit suicide. Basin sees anywhere from six to about 30 people cross its threshold each day, but the store's manager doesn't recall spotting a mustachioed 50-something in an F250 last summer. He simply made himself vanish.