If anything was amiss in Karl Fred Kohler's life in the weeks prior to his murder, he gave no indication of it to his friends.
"His spirits were up," said friend and former Summit County resident Jeremy Davis, who spoke with Kohler two weeks before his body was discovered near his campsite on Peak 9 near Breckenridge. "He was excited to check out some shows at Red Rocks."
Kohler, 45, an approximately 10-year resident of Summit County, was found dead from blunt force trauma Saturday near the Burro Trail trailhead by volunteers helping with the town clean-up day.
Shocked and scared by the news and the manner of his death, Kohler's friends and community are now trying to say good-bye.
"I would have trusted him with anything," friend and Breckenridge resident Susan Harrison said. "It's just devastating that that could happen here."
Law enforcement described Kohler as a transient, but friends say he was a local, an artist and a music lover who just felt at home outside and preferred camping, in both the summer and the winter, to settling at a fixed address.
"He was such a good person," said Summit Cove resident and friend Robin Robson, who is organizing a service for Kohler this weekend. "He was very gifted, very intelligent, read a lot."
Kohler had reportedly been working at a restaurant at Copper Mountain during the winter and was planning to return to the same restaurant for the summer season.
But friends say Kohler, who was originally from New York, had had a hard life before he settled in Summit County and continued to have problems here because of his appearance and lifestyle.
"I think he was judged for that," Harrison said. "I could see someone not liking him because of the way he looked or the way he lived."
More than one person who knew Kohler said they thought he might have been specifically targeted.
Despite law enforcement's reassurances that Kohler's killing was an isolated incident and the Breckenridge area - which has seen only a handful of homicide cases in the last 12 years - is safe, some say they're worried.
"There's a vicious soul out there," said Larry Lewarton who owns a retail business in Breckenridge. "I'm really concerned."
Authorities from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Breckenridge PD, the Summit County Sheriff's Office and other agencies are working together on the investigation, but have declined to release any information regarding the case, including whether they are working on any leads or suspects.
Multiple second-hand reports indicate a baseball bat may have been involved.
Anyone involved in the Breckenridge town clean-up day Saturday who was in the area of the Warrior's Mark Trail or Burro Trail is asked to contact Detective Jared Dennis at (970) 423-8907 or email@example.com.