From Jerry Gray, Hinsdale County Coroner on July 7, 2009:
Winston passed away in a remarkably beautiful valley in the Uncompaghre Wilderness in late 2008, probably between mid-November and mid-December. On July 2nd 2009 a body was discovered by hikers in Porphyry Basin above the Middle Fork of the Cimarron River in northern Hinsdale County. Hinsdale Sheriff and Deputy, SAR members, Coroner and a CBI agent responded to the location on the 3rd. Most of those present had participated in the search around Lake City for Winston in the fall of 08. Having spent the winter and spring under the snow pack, and having only recently melted out, the body was essentially mummified. Even though visual confirmation that it was Winston was not possible from facial features, a high index of suspicion that it was indeed Winston was supported by a pair of hiking poles, a bone colored Arc'Teryx parka and items in his pack including an extensive journal which was unfortunately unreadable due to the ink bleeding from being wet. At autopsy on Monday, an expired Silverton Mountain Ski Pass with photo ID was discovered in one of his jacket pockets virtually confirming his identity. We will proceed to make positive identification through dental records or DNA but the Sheriff and myself are 99.9% certain this is Winston. He was found lying on his back next to the cabin below. He had not gained entrance into the cabin; probably either because the snow was already too deep or because he was too weak from starvation and exposure when he arrived. The Porphyry Basin area is exceedingly beautiful and no doubt held spiritual significance for him. The top of Porphyry Basin from a quarter mile or so above the cabin.
My condolences go out to all of Winston's friends and family.
Hinsdale County Coroner
Yesterday we received a call from the Coroner indicating that Branko's
body had been found last Thursday by a hiker upstream from Silver Jack
Reservoir in the Uncomphagre Range. The coroner will be posting
additional information in this blog.
It seems he died last fall/winter from malnutrition/exposure at 11,300
feet and was covered by the snow throughout the winter.
We'll keep you posted.
Thank you to everyone for your hope, prayers, and support.