Remains found in national park confirmed to be those of missing Air Force Academy cadet candidate
The remains found in Rocky Mountain National Park late last week are those of a missing Air Force Academy cadet candidate, the academy confirmed Sunday.
Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) Search and Rescue team members alongside private searchers reported they found items believed to belong to Micah Tice in a drainage area on Thursday. Remains of a young man were found nearby the following day. The Larimer County Coroner's Office completed an autopsy over the weekend.
Tice was heard from in late November 2018 when he told his parents he might go hiking over the weekend. His phone signal was last received on Saturday, Nov. 24 near Woodmen and I-25, and he failed to show up to class at the U.S. Air Force Prep School Academy on Monday, Nov. 26. That same day, RMNP rangers found Tice's vehicle at the Longs Peak trailhead.
The last reported sighting of Tice was by a couple of park visitors, who a few days after Tice was reported missing notified rangers that they had hiked with Tice for about 20 minutes before parting ways in the Battle Mountain area. The National Park Service says there was a lot of snow on the day with extremely high winds and cold temperatures, and the hikers confirmed the conditions were deteriorating when they split up from Tice.
Deep snow and harsh winter conditions hindered search efforts from the start, and active search efforts were suspended in early December. According to the National Park Service, the area the remains were eventually found, the Boulder Brook drainage, was one of the areas where initial search efforts were heavily focused, but crews made little headway as the area was covered in deep snow until early summer.
Tice's family publicly stated after the search was called off that they did not believe enough was being done to find their son. In a press conference Dec. 7, which can be viewed below, they made a public plea for help to President Donald Trump and outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper. A member of the family claimed the National Park Service did not request help in the search from Fort Carson, despite Fort Carson's willingness to help.
Rocky Mountain National Park told 11 News in a statement following the press conference that they understood the family's pain and anguish, but stressed the difficulty of the search due to dangerous conditions. The park stated that if weather allowed, there would be limited search efforts during the winter months.