Body Discovered Near Fruita Identified, Drug Overdose Suspected

A body discovered by runners on the Colorado National Monument Monday has been identified. A Mesa County Sheriff's Office Spokeswoman said the deceased was Nathaniel Frederick Penn of Fruita. The Mesa County Coroner has ruled the cause of death a presumptive drug overdose, calling the manner of death a suicide.

According to the chief ranger at the monument, Penn's body was found in Kodels Canyon, in the extreme northern part of the park. It's accessible only by foot with no maintained trails leading into it. The chief ranger says not many people make it into the remote canyon near the northern boundary of the monument.

The Mesa County Technical Rescue Team was able to recover the body around midnight Monday night. Final confirmation of the coroner's ruling may take two weeks as he waits for toxicology results.

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