Updated: Book written about Winston.

Mark Scott-Nash wrote a book about Winston. It is available on Amazon.com and a print addition will available soon. Forty-Demons: The Final Journey of Winston Branko Churchill

Monday, November 24, 2008

Winston latest update: Spotted in mid-October

We are very certain that Winston was seen at Banded Peak Ranches on October 12th outside Platoro, Colorado west of the Continental Divide. He was spotted by an outfitter named Dennis. The Archuleta Sheriffs department was contacted. They they followed his tracks on the road until they disappeared. We do not know where he was heading, but it is possible that he was headed toward the Navajo River or toward Pagosa Springs. It is clear that Winston does not want to be found right now. The good news is that he has figured out a way to keep himself alive and moving. There is peace of mind in that fact. We are keeping our ears open and waiting for him to surface again. If he does, we have a crew of folks ready to move to go and pick him up. It is our hope that he will contact one of us sooner or later.

Here is a copy of the email form Dennis (the outfitter):
My name is Dennis. I manage land that was once part of the Tierra Amarilla Land Grant and is now commonly known as Banded Peak Ranches. I am also a licensed outfitter and lease most of the land each fall for Elk hunting.

On Sunday October 12, at about 12;30 p.m. a hiker walked into my camp following a road which comes into the main valley from the East fork of the Navajo River, west of the continental divide. It was a cold windy day with rain/snow showers.

I walked up to him and began asking questions, wanting to know where he had come from and where he was going. I was not angry; I figured this guy was very lost and possibly in trouble. He did not want to talk to me, and did not stop walking. I walked beside him.

He said he had come from Platoro, had been on the divide with friends who had horses, and had left them because of the snow. I asked him if he knew where he was. He said he had a map. I asked him to get it out and I would show him where he was. He said it was buried in his pack. He said he was following the Navajo River. I told him that the river flows south and pointed out the road to take to follow the river to Chromo and highway 84. (He was headed North when I first saw him).

He was wearing black tennis/skateboarder type shoes, black nylon knee shorts with white stripes on the sides, a gray/black hooded sweatshirt jacket, with the hood up. His clothes looked worn and oily. He had a small daypack on with a black rolled-up sleeping bag tied to it. I saw a frying pan or cooking kettle handle sticking out of the bag. He had a plastic quart milk bottle with red lid (empty) tied on top of the bag. He and his gear were wet.

I offered him a bowl of hot soup beside a hot fire. He said he had food. (I think he was tempted). I offered to give him a ride to Chromo--it would be no trouble. He refused. I told him to stay on that road, take no turns, and he would come to Chromo. He walked on down the road.

I would say he was somewhat incoherent; he was wet and cold and did not give me what I would call sensible answers.

After he left I called a friend with the Archuleta Sheriffs department to ask him what more I could do. He sent a deputy and I think an ambulance out. I don't know what happened, but they did not see him. He followed the road a while, we saw his tracks, but he left it and vanished. The sheriff brought a photo of Winston and all of us in camp who saw him are positive that this was Winston.

I don't know what else I could have done except grab him, which would have probably been a mistake. I will be glad to discuss this with anyone, help more if I can. Dennis

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Winston!

We wanted to echo what Winston's dad (Winston) wrote on the Google group---a very happy birthday to Winston!!! We continue to keep him in our thoughts and keep our hopes up for his safe return. If you haven't done so already, please check out the Google group posts; there have been some nice notes and some interesting tid-bits (speculation). However, for the most part, there have been no new developments or information over the past week and a half. We know that large game hunting is still going on in those parts of Colorado so we remain hopeful for some information/leads from hunters. Communication remains with citizens of Lake City, CO and we will of course post any information as we receive it. It seems that the easiest and most readily accessible info has been the Google group so please be sure to check there as well. Thanks, everyone! And please keep Winston especially strong in your heart today, on his birthday.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Update- Keeping the energy alive...

Hello all~ First, we'd like to apologize for not posting more recently. We all continue to keep Winston in our thoughts & prayers and remain hopeful for his safe return. Over the past week and a half, the search efforts and flier postings continued with expansive coverage. A huge thanks to Paddy, Christopher, Rob, Jovanka and Dennis for their cross-country trekking and posting. We wanted to give you all a little update on where everything is at in terms of the search effort. Please see the right side of the screen for the updated contacts/flier postings. The biggest thing we can do at this point is to continue to spread the word of Winston's disappearance via word-of-mouth and the fliers. We also know that the big game and rifle hunting season is in full swing in that area of Colorado and the word is out with many hunters, local hunting communities and ATV staging areas and rental facilities. (Special thanks to Patrick A. and Michell from Denver for spreading the word with their hunting friends.) Some of Patrick's friends will be hunting this weekend (for 1 week) in the areas of Ouray and Silverton. Additionally, contact has been made with 2 monasteries near(ish) the Colorado Trail (Tara Mandala and Vajra Vidya Retreat Center), thanks to Travis H. and apparently there have been no sightings of Winston at either of those places near Crestone, CO.

If you have been keeping up to date with the Google group (see link in right-hand column of page), you'll see the e-mail that Jonathan received from Justin Casey, Hinsdale County Deputy Sheriff on 9/27/08 stating that the last confirmed sighting of Winston was on the Crystal Trail that leaves Lake City, CO and goes up to tree line at Crystal Lake. In conversations with Winston this summer, we know that he had spent some time at and around Crystal Lake and was fond of that area. (Perhaps an in-depth search of that trail and area could/should be in order?) Apparently, Winston was last seen half way up that trail. Also, Jovanka had mentioned that a woman who lives on that road (Crystal Lake) remembers seeing Winston bring Townsend (his dog) down (to town) and then saw him go back up the trail without Townsend. Deputy Justin also mentioned that a previous, different sighting from the sheepherder may not have been a reliable source. The coordinates of the Crystal Trail trailhead using WG-S 84 map datum are: N 38 02.601 and W 107 19.180. Jovanka & Dennis have posted fliers at this trailhead and also spoke to a ranchhand there who took the trail on horseback recently (last week.)

At this point, we need to continue to keep the energy and spirit alive. We are looking for further suggestions, if you have any whatsoever. We are also encouraging you all to join/become a member of the Google group so that we can keep everyone's information on-hand and communicate that way as well. We'll post again soon... thanks for everyone's efforts, thoughts, prayers and energy. People have been sharing some very touching stories of Winston as well, and, if you're visiting this blog, Winston has obviously inspired you in some way, also. Keep posted...

The picture is one that Paddy & Christopher took while on their search & posting fliers effort in SW Colorado last week(end.) It certainly is such a beautiful area, especially in autumn.

Monday, September 22, 2008

UPDATED "Missing" poster for Winston! Includes pics of gear.

To print off updated missing poster of Winston, please go to link http://groups.google.com/group/insearchofwinston
Click on "files" and then on "Winston+B+Churchill+Missing+Poster.doc
Thank you!

Winston's gear

The pics are of some of the pertinent gear Winston has with him:
1. Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 with a sage green fly. This is a 2-person, 3-season tent.
2. Patagonia down sweater jacket burnt orange color, similar to the one in the above picture but a little more orange (see the pic of Winston wearing it on the right)
3. Arc'Teryx Sidewinder SV Gore-tex jacket in bone color, similar to the one in the above pic but more grey/white-ish
4. Gregory backpack (color uncertain)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

RE: Current search (options) and "Missing" posters

Hello friends & family of Winston,

Thank you for the support and involvement thus far into the search for Winston. The amount of response has been amazing. We continue to be hopeful for Winston's safe return.

I have not been successful in engaging the local authorities to start-up a second search party for Winston given the uncertain directional intention of Winston. The area where Winston was last seen Umcompahgre Wilderness (near Lake City, CO) is very remote, dense and rugged wilderness and the probability of a successful search is unlikely. The following Colorado counties have been notified of Winston's disappearance: Montrose, Gunnison, La Plata, San Juan and Hinsdale is he may have headed in any of these directions.

Currently, the most effective and efficient effort we can make is to post the "Missing- Winston Churchill" posters at every possible trailhead, local parking lot, and public facilities in and around surrounding areas, spanning out towards Silverton, Durango, Lake City, etc. There are many hunters and hikers in the wood at this time of year. Please print out the poster file posted on the Google groups website and post in any likely location you can think of and are able to. Thank you already to the many people who have already been posting these in their communities.

However, there is a significant interest in doing a foot search for Winston in the area where he was last seen. As you may have seen, there have been responses on the blog (insearchofwinston.blogspot.com) as well as 14ers.com. If you are still able and interested in participating in a search, please contact Doug Wall AND the local Sheriff's office at the following numbers below as they will be the best to provide professional advice.

*Doug Wall dugwall@hotmail.com (970) 769-3050
*Sheriff Ron Bruce of the Hinsdale County Sheriff's Department (970) 944-2291
*Deputy Justin Casey of the Hinsdale County Sheriff's Dept

Additionally, thanks to Paddy who created a Google group e-mail account/list which we can all use and access. This is a way for us all to, within a group, reply to a message that someone else posted, or post a message or question of your own. You can also create a discussion topic and keep in touch with each other this way. (i.e. interested search parties for Winston.) Check it out at: http://groups.google.com/group/insearchofwinston
The e-mail address is: insearchofwinston@googlegroups.com

Ideally, we would like to use the above Google group/e-mail address in conjunction with the blogspot (insearchofwinston.blogspot.com) as organized ways for communication. Thanks.

Please contact Shanna if you are having trouble opening the "Missing" poster attachment as I will be unavailable for the next 5 days. Thank you. Winston is in our thoughts.

Jonathan Wrobel
Shanna Rivera

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Can you participate in a search? Can you post fliers in your community?

Thanks to a friend of Winston's who posted a note on 14ers.com website. I was checking it out this evening and already saw an amazing amount of responses and many people willing to help in any way they can . Thanks to the 14ers community! Keep up the chatter- good things are forming already. As of tonight, communication has been made with the post office, Sheriff's deptartment and some citizens of Lake City, news channel(s) in the Denver area, the 14ers.com community, and some citizens in Silverton, CO. Of course, if you are reading this, you too are in the loop :) There is talk (and action-in-progress) of a search party(-ies) being formed in the Lake City area to look for Winston.

- PLEASE COMMENT TO THIS POST IF YOU ARE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SEARCH. Also, state your location and the time you are able to dedicate to the search. We will keep you posted on the search details. ***ADDITIONALLY, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU CONTACT THE HINSDALE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT AT (970) 944.2291 SO THAT THEY CAN ORGANIZE THE SEARCH PARTIES IN DETAIL.***

-ALSO, PLEASE REPLY TO THIS POST IF YOU ARE WILLING & ABLE TO PUT UP "SEARCHING FOR WINSTON" FLIERS IN YOUR COMMUNITY. I will e-mail you the one-page pdf file to print off. Please state the community where you live so we can get as much coverage as possible.


So, who do you contact to share information?

1. If you have emergent information regarding Winston and his whereabouts, please directly contact:
Sheriff Ron Bruce or Deputy Justin Casey with the Hinsdale County Sheriff's Department at (970) 944.2291

2. **We are strongly encouraging to please post your information, thoughts, feelings, updates, prayers, etc. on this blog. We prefer that we all start communicating via the blog as this is more efficient and informative.**

3. You may otherwise contact those of us directly involved in the search at the following phone numbers:
Jonathan Wrobel - Chicago, IL
Mobile: (224) 532.0172
E-mail: jonathanwrob@gmail.com

Shanna Rivera - Denver, CO
Mobile: (720) 231.4595
E-mail: shannamr@gmail.com

Paddy Hannon - Los Angeles, CA
Mobile: (213) 804.9287
E-mail: phannon@edmunds.com

Shawn Heinrichs - Boulder, CO
Mobile: (303) 809.5567

Map of the area where Winston was last seen (specifically near Lake City, CO). Click on map to enlarge.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

To catch you all up to speed...

This blog was started because of the course of events of Winston's life this past year. As many of you all know, Winston closed the doors of Mobius Cafe & Cycles in Silverton, CO in December 2007 and headed back up to Lakewood, CO. There, he experienced a time of inner exploration and working on his book. In June 2008, he decided to hike the Colorado Trail, a 500 mile trail from Denver to Durango. Throughout his backpacking course, Winston periodically stayed in touch with Shanna and myself (Jonathan), and together we assisted him in his trek via sending food & gear packages, etc. Although the exact purpose of Winston's desire to hike the trail is unclear, we have reason to believe that his recent "disappearance" into the deep wilderness of the San Juan mountain range could be one of self destruction. From the last phone messages Shanna and I received from Winston, he was tearful and sad, stating that he "no longer needed anything anymore." Shanna and I decided to contact the local Sheriff's department in Hinsdale County (Lake City, CO) which then prompted a foot search totaling over 250 hours in search of Winston. That search took place around the end of August/early September. The only information from their search was surfaced by contact with a local sheep herder who verified by description Winston, hiking in the Elk Creek drainage (Uncompahgre Wilderness), heading towards the Big Blue drainage (which is northerly), but that he (Winston) had plans to come back to Lake City in about a week. This would estimate that Winston was due back in Lake City around Sept. 8th or so but no word of/from him since.