Remains found in North Routt after Rainbow Gathering identified as missing Iowa man

Spencer Powell
Steamboat Pilot & Today

ROUTT COUNTY — On Wednesday, Nov. 2, the Routt County Coroner’s Office identified the human remains found in north Routt County in early September as those of a missing 31-year-old man from Iowa.

Jacob Cyr of Council Bluffs was reported missing in August by his family after he didn’t return home from the Rainbow Gathering, which took place in Adams Park north of Hayden.

The cause and manner of death is still undetermined, but no evidence has been found that suggests foul play, according to Routt County Coroner Mitch Locke. Both Locke and Routt County Undersheriff Doug Scherar said the case is considered closed unless more details emerge.

An out-of-state hunter found a human skull on Sunday, Sept. 4, and more remains were discovered about a mile away on Friday, Sept. 9, following a search by the Routt County Sheriff’s Office and Routt County Search and Rescue.

Officials now suspect that Cyr died from an undetermined, nonviolent cause and his remains were spread by animals, according to Locke.

To determine if the bones belonged to Cyr, the coroner’s and sheriff’s offices first consulted a pathologist who examined tissue from the remains. Then they enlisted the help of a forensic anthropologist who put as much of the skeleton back together as possible to estimate various characteristics of the deceased, such as the individual’s height and weight.

“That was quite the process,” Locke said. “That took her a while to actually complete.”

Locke estimates that about 95% of Cyr’s skeleton was retrieved. 

Locke then enlisted the help of two dentists to compare the dental structure of the remains, which still had four teeth, with Cyr’s dental records. This process showed a match between the shape of Cyr’s teeth and the jaw that was found. 

Cyr was reported missing on Aug. 8. He was last seen June 18 by a fellow camper who saw him wander into the woods before the Rainbow Gathering began in early July. Cyr’s wallet, ID and cell phone were left at his tent, which was later removed during the gathering’s cleanup. 

Amanda Cyr, Jacob’s sister, expected him to return in late July after the gathering. She told the Pilot & Today in August her brother has no serious mental or physical health conditions known to her, and her brother has attended three or four previous Rainbow Gatherings including the previous year’s gathering in 2021. 

On Aug. 12, a multi-day search was coordinated between the sheriff’s office, dog teams and Routt County Search and Rescue. But those efforts were unsuccessful. 

On Aug. 13, as the initial search for Cyr was underway, Amanda wrote on her Facebook page, “So Jacob, wherever you are, there are three things I don’t want you to ever forget. 1. I love you with all my heart. 2. You have been the best big brother, friend and hero to me. And 3, we are the same age this week. I love you Jacob, I miss you so much. Please come home safe.”

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