March 7, 2023 — Remains located in Lake County dating back more than 50 years have been identified through work performed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Cold Case team at the request of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Using Forensic Genetic Genealogy (FGG) and other investigative tools, the remains have been identified as those of Gardner Paul Smith (DOB: 09/22/1930) of Modesto, Calif.
Smith’s body was found on Independence Pass in June 1970. Remains were submitted for analysis, but no identification was made from DNA or fingerprint analysis. Facial reconstruction was also performed but did not lead to identification.
In 2022, previously extracted DNA was submitted for Forensic Genetic Genealogy testing, in which a lead was developed and led to the identification of Smith.
Foul play is not suspected in his death, but if anyone has any information about his disappearance and death, contact the Lake County Sheriff’s Office at 719-486-1249.