Hinsdale County Search and Rescue (HCSAR) found and recovered the body of Dallas area fisherman Daniel Gene Nunn, 58 years old, from Henson Creek on July 13 about 1.5 miles west of Lake City on County Road 20. Heavy rains during the day on July 12, in addition to already swollen flows from spring runoff, created slippery and treacherous stream conditions.
Nunn was reported overdue from fishing to Hinsdale Sheriff’s Office late on July 12. His wife, Sandra, reported that he had gone fishing up Henson Creek and was expected back at their vacation rental home between 5 and 6 p.m. His car was located approximately 2.5 miles up CR 20. An initial search was made of the area by Undersheriff Justin Casey, Nunn’s son, and Buffy Witt.
HCSAR Ground Search Coordinator Dennis Cavit was called around 11:15 p.m. and search teams were quickly formed. Three teams of two searchers each covered the area upstream and downstream between the confluence of Henson and the Lake Fork and the Alpine Gulch Trailhead. The search teams included Tom Carl, Casey, Cavit, Darren Hardy, Bernie Krystyniak, and Witt.
Darkness and high flow conditions prevented direct access to the stream, and heavy brush and trees along the bank resulted in limited visibility during the search. No sign of the missing fisherman was found by 2 a.m., after which plans were made to continue the search at first light the morning of Thursday, July 13.
Search teams were deployed July 13 at 6:30 a.m., consisting of two ground teams comprised of Carl, Hardy, Witt, and Mike Ralph which worked their way up the creek, and raft team members Andy Dozier and Evan Milski, in addition to Bruce Curry and Tim Castell as spotters on bridges, and Bernie and Jodie Krystyniak as car team.
The search was coordinated by Incident Commander Cavit and Sheriff’s Liaison Casey.
Nunn was spotted by one of the ground teams in the creek at 7:05 a.m. on Thursday. HCSAR swift water specialist Darren Hardy organized a team including Dozier, Ralph, and Milski to cross the creek and recover the body. The recovery was completed
at 8:20 a.m. and released to Coroner Jerry Gray.
Coroner Gray reports that the death has been ruled accidental as the result of drowning. Nunn was apparently fishing in a deep and narrow section of Henson Creek near the base of Hidden Treasure Hill in an area where Dylan Smith drowned as the result of an auto accident in 2015.
Although the exact area where Nunn was fishing is uncertain, Gray says that he feels the man’s chest-high waders may have filled with water and “contributed to his death.”
Hinsdale Swift Water Rescue team member Mike Ralph is credited with locating the fisherman’s body which was found partially submerged in shallow water among willows on the opposite side of the creek from the road just after 7 a.m. on Thursday. Body recovery was complete by 8:20 a.m., Coroner Gray pronouncing the man dead at 8:40 a.m.
The body was transported to Montrose where drowning was confirmed following an autopsy which was conducted by Dr. Benzinger, Deputy Coroner Lori Lawrence in attendance, at 9 a.m. Friday, July 14. The body was then released to family and returned to Texas where cremation was planned.
Mr. Nunn, who was born December 14, 1958, was a resident of Celina, Texas, and was vacationing in Lake City with members of his family, including his wife, Sandra, and an adult son, Riley.