Man who died at reservoir wanted to be "where he was happiest’ |

Man who died at reservoir wanted to be "where he was happiest’

SUMMIT COUNTY – The suicide note told his boss exactly where he was.

“It said, “You will find me where I am happiest.’ said Risa Duy, owner of Stan’s Mechanical and Refrigeration Company in Denver. “That’s why I thought of Summit and Grand county. He loved that area. I’m thinking that’s where he wanted to end his life.”

The man who wrote the note – one of her employees – was found dead in the company van Tuesday afternoon of a shotgun wound to the chest. The 50-year-old man had driven the van into the reservoir and then apparently shot himself after fleeing from a Summit County Sheriff’s Officer who had been sent to check on him.

A native of Grand County, the Denver man frequently returned to the mountains to fish at Green Mountain Reservoir, Duy said.

His note not only alarmed Duy, it surprised her. She had known him since he came to work for the Denver business in 1998 and said he did not seem depressed. She knew him as a “soft-spoken, quiet, hard worker,” who did not drink or do drugs and said he was a beloved member of the small, 8-person company she ran.

“He had had some ups and downs,” she said. “He was uncomfortable with turning 50 and being alone. He didn’t have any children, a wife. His parents lived in Montana, and he had a sister in Washington. I think he was having a mid-life, I-don’t-want-to-be-alone-at-50 thing. But the last time I talked to him, I thought he was really up, so I didn’t see signs.

“I wish he would have just called me. I’ve always been there to help him.”

Duy said Wednesday she wonders whether she did the right thing in calling the sheriff’s office about her fears for the man. She speculated that it may have turned out differently had she driven up to the area herself to find him.

But Sheriff Joe Morales said Duy should put her mind at ease.

“I absolutely think the lady did the right thing,” he said. “I’ve seen loved ones do everything within their power to try and circumvent something like this. Unfortunately, I don’t know how willing he was to save himself. He took a weapon with one round. His intent, I think, was strong. We would have taken him into protective custody and tried to get him the help he needed, but obviously, he was desperate enough to finish what he intended to do.”

People like Duy, Morales said, are victims of suicides as well, “people left behind to second guess” themselves.

“I’ve had to deal with suicides of all kinds,” he said, “and the only thing they have in common is the devastation they leave behind.”

Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

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