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Remains found on Wolf Creek Pass in 1991 identified as Indiana man

Steven Risku
Posted at 4:23 PM, Feb 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-20 00:39:18-05

MINERAL COUNTY, Colo. — Remains that were found in Mineral County in 1991 have been identified as an Indiana man, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation announced Monday.

The remains belonged to Steven Kenneth Risku of Indiana and were found on Wolf Creek Pass in Mineral County in 1991. His last known address was in Indianapolis, Indiana, and he occasionally visited California, according to his family. It is unclear why he was in Colorado but his family described him as adventurous and a lover of the outdoors, CBI said.

Steven Risku

Investigators submitted DNA from the remains for Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy (FIGG) testing in 2023. Those results were then confirmed with dental records and "other investigative tools," CBI said in its release.

“The identification of Mr. Risku is a tremendous first step in helping provide his family with answers,” said Mineral County Sheriff Terry Wetherill in a statement. "If anyone has information as to why or how Steven Risku was at a remote location on Wolf Creek Pass or if anyone has any additional questions, please contact the Mineral County Sheriff's Office."

Heather Hall, Risku's niece, said she never met her uncle. He disappeared in 1987 — a year before she was born.

"My family had a lot of hope that they would hear from him. We just had expectations that he was still out there," Hall told Denver7 on Monday.

Risku's mother passed away in 2003 without any answers, according to Hall.

“It was just the level of uncertainty that really hit my family the hardest growing up," said Hall.

Hall said the family was told about the identification of the remains in January.

"It was obviously a huge shock that he had been dead this whole time, and our family had held out hope for so long that he was alive," she said. "It's like grieving a little bit all over again.”

However, Hall said some relief came with the identification.

“This wasn't the outcome that we wanted, but at the same time, we're able to get my uncle back home where he belongs and put him to rest," said Hall.

Risku's cause of death was not released. CBI said it is "unknown" if foul play was involved.

Anyone with information about Risku is asked to call the Mineral County Sheriff's Office at 719-658-2600.

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