ROOSEVELT — The body of a hunting guide missing since November was recovered Saturday by authorities on the Uintah-Ouray Indian Reservation.
Ute Tribe Emergency Management Director Misty Bruns confirmed the recovery of the remains of Charles Reed Chapoose, 26, by officials with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the FBI.
Chapoose, know to friends and family as Charlie or "Cheez," was reported missing on Nov. 27 after his truck was found abandoned near the Towave Reservoir turnoff in the reservation's southern extension. He had failed to rendezvous with the party he was scheduled to guide on a cow elk hunt in the nearby Hill Creek area.
Searchers from around Utah and Colorado converged on the area in an attempt to find the experienced outdoorsman. But after more than two weeks of exhaustive searching from the air and on the ground, the search was scaled back in mid-December.
At 4:42 p.m. Friday, Chapoose's body was spotted from the air, about a mile from where his truck had been found, by Ute Fish and Wildlife officials conducting a big game count by helicopter. Bruns said the men notified BIA Police Chief Erik LaRose of their discovery.
LaRose, who grew up hunting and fishing with Chapoose, responded to the area and made a positive identification.
"It's a tight-knit community, and everybody knows everybody. It's been a rough two days," Bruns said, noting that those involved in the search and recovery effort are scheduled to attend a debriefing today.
Friends and relatives of Chapoose had continued to search for him even after the official search effort was drawn down. They went out in high winds and icy temperatures — some taking time off from work — determined to bring the missing guide home.
"They were adamant that they were going to find him," said Joy Grant, whose sons and son-in-law were among the searchers.
Bruns said Chapoose's body was transported to the state Medical Examiner's Office in Salt Lake City. Foul play is not suspected, but an immediate cause of death was not released.