GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. – A missing sheriff’s deputy who was last seen Tuesday in a rural area of Garfield County was found dead Friday, according to a spokesperson with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
Tayler Esslinger, 26, of Gypsum, who was last seen Tuesday and was believed to be heading into the mountains, was found in his vehicle Friday afternoon. A cause and manner of death was not immediately released.
“We are very heartbroken by today’s turn of events in this discovery,” said Eagle County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jessie Porter in a news release. “While it was not the outcome we had all been hoping and praying for, these last few days have shown how the circumstances of one individual can pull us together to make us all stronger.”
Esslinger was a detention deputy for the sheriff's office and also a volunteer firefighter. Air resources on Friday discovered Esslinger's 2011 Dodge pickup truck, the sheriff's office spokesperson said. Garfield County borders Eagle County to the west.
Dozens of volunteers helped in the search efforts for Esslinger over the last day, Porter said.
“The love and support this community has shown in the search for Tayler has been beyond words,” Porter said. “This support has been a comfort to his family, friends, co-workers, and the entire community.”
If you or someone you know needs help, you can always call the Colorado Crisis Line at 1-844-493-8255.