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

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Latest Update...Winston's body was found on July 2, 2009

We are filled with emotion and deep sadness with learning the news that Winston's body was found on July 2, 2009. He was found outside of a cabin by some hikers in the Porphyry Basin above the Middle Fork of the Cimarron River in northern Hinsdale County, Colorado. Below, we have inserted a brief report from Jerry Gray, Hinsdale County Coroner, along with pictures of the area and the note from Winston's sister, posted to the Google Group this morning. Upper Porphyry as well as Precipice Peak are the views in the pictures below. The map is of the hiking trails in the area. It is indeed a beautiful place in Colorado.

We thank you all for your care, concern, and support in the search for Winston. We find comfort in knowing that he passed away in a beautiful place and he is now at peace. We will update the blog as further information becomes available including any memorial/remembrance gatherings. Please feel free to add your thoughts, prayers and remembrances to this blog.

With love,
Jonathan & Inga

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.

Jerry Gray

Hinsdale County Coroner

From Winston's sister, July 7, 2009:

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.

Branko's Family


Nicole said...

We are so sorry about Winston's passing. He touched the lives of many and he will be remembered fondly. Our thoughts are with Winston's family and friends.

Clayton and Nicole Coffelt

Deb Dion said...

Very sad to hear about this. Winston was a good friend, and he always had a funny, clever or snarky comment to make me laugh when I would get a cup of coffee at Mobius.
I hope that like the Mobius strip he liked so much, that this is not the end but only a new, upside-down beginning.
He will be missed.

Tina said...

We have been following the search for Winston online from AZ since we saw the Missing Person posters in October '08 during a hike in the area of the Silver Jack Resevoir. Our sympathy goes to the friends and family of Winston.
Marty and Tina Harshman
Jacob and Kristin Whitten

Brent said...

I just found out about the sad news this morning from the Denver Post article. I had heard about the search for Winston from some of his old co-workers at Turin. I had hopped for a happier ending to the search: I imagined him living in the jungle in Costa Rica off the grid.

This news saddens me greatly. He was a wonderful person. I first met him years ago in Boulder. He was one of my earliest skiing/ biking partners in CO when I moved here in '92. We shared many cool and crazy experiences together. Our paths crossed again and again over the years, and it would always bring a smile to my face every time it did. He was a good soul and I am sorry that this world is without him.

Brent Wambach

Anonymous said...

So surprised and saddened to hear about Winston's passing. He was one of my first friends when I moved from Durango to Golden. He showed me some of the nicest trails in the area. My thoughts and condolences to all his friends and family.
Tamra McIlvain

Mark Churchill said...

Condolences from the Nebraska Churchills. We never met Winston, and it sounds like our loss. Wishing you peace and all the best.

Mark, Susan, & Ellie

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