Grand County authorities continue with manhunt that began Friday |

Grand County authorities continue with manhunt that began Friday

Lance Maggart / Sky-Hi News
The exterior of the Grand County Sheriff's Office.
Courtesy photo

Authorities in Grand County are still searching for a male person of interest following an expansive multi-day manhunt that kicked off Friday afternoon in the Stillwater Pass area northeast of Granby.

According to law enforcement officials, on Dec. 8, a Grand County Sheriff’s Deputy was in the process of investigating a series of recent burglaries in the Granby and Grand Lake area and saw an individual considered a person of interest in those cases. When the deputy went to make contact with the person of interest, the subject and another male party fled from authorities, prompting the search.

Multiple local agencies responded and within hours one of the two individuals was apprehended in the crawlspace of a house near milepost 11 on Highway 34. Sunday morning officials identified that subject as Jorge Varela of Grand County. Varela was arrested and has been charged with first degree criminal trespassing, related to his attempt to evade authorities, as well as multiple traffic charges.

Lieutenant Dan Mayer with the Sheriff’s Office said Varela has not been charged with any crimes related to the string of burglaries that caused the initial contact but said investigators are gathering evidence, and that Varela is currently considered a person of interest in those cases. Mayer said officials have executed several search warrants since Friday’s initial manhunt and that property stolen during recent burglaries has been recovered, including property taken from a burglary on County Road 4110, which the Sky-Hi News previously reported.

Investigators have not yet released the name of the second individual, who managed to evade authorities over the weekend, but did confirm they believe the man made it out of the woods and is no longer in the initial search area.

“I was up there on a Razor yesterday,” Mayer said. “We found his tracks. We tracked him up and over the mountain, across some private property and back to County Road 4. I would say he traveled around 15 miles. It is amazing to me that he made it out of there.”

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