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Investigation at the Glenwood Adventure Park

Park was closed while investigation into death unrelated to rides occurs

News release – Garfield County Coroner’s Office
Date: October 30, 2023
Time: 4:59 p.m.

Identity of Deceased: Diego Barajas Medina, 20-year-old male, resident of Carbondale, CO.

On October 29, 2023, at approximately 9:05 am, the Garfield County Coroner’s Office was dispatched to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park for a report of a death investigation in a restroom of the adventure park. Upon arrival, coroner’s office investigators learned the decedent was found with a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound of the head and that there were possible explosives near the decedent. At this time, both law enforcement and coroner’s office investigators secured the area and waited for the Grand Junction Bomb Squad to make the scene safe. On October 29, 2023 at approximately 4:30 pm, the scene was deemed safe and the coroner’s office was able to recover the decedent.

On October 30, 2023, the coroner’s office contract forensic pathologist performed an autopsy of the decedent. The decedent had a single gunshot wound of the head. The scene investigation and the forensic autopsy suggest that the decedent died by suicide and the coroner’s office is investigating the manner of death as a suicide.

Please note, that in all death investigations the final certification on cause and manner of death comes at the conclusion of a death investigation in conjunction with the law enforcement investigation. Should the manner of death investigation change from a suicide investigation, the coroner’s office will provide an updated press release.

Please practice safe reporting guidelines from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on reporting suicide-related death investigations.

News release – Garfield County Sheriff’s Office
Date: October 30, 2023
Time: 11:06 a.m.

On the morning of October 28, 2023, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a deceased male at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. The deceased had been located prior to the park opening to the public and was not related to any of the rides or exhibits at the park. Based upon a preliminary investigation it appeared that the suspect illegally entered the park after hours, when no employees or patrons were present.

The investigation, which spanned the days of October 28 and 29th, involved a 22-year-old male from the Carbondale area. He was dressed in black colored tactical clothing, bearing patches and emblems that gave the appearance of being associated with law enforcement. The suspect had been heavily armed with a semi-automatic rifle and semi-automatic handgun and multiple, loaded magazines for both weapons. He was wearing body armor and what appeared to be a ballistic helmet. Additionally multiple improvised explosive devices, (IEDs), were discovered with the suspect and in a vehicle associated with the suspect. At the request of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, the Grand Junction Bomb Squad responded to the scene and with their expertise were able to render the devices safe.

The Glenwood Adventure Caverns property was then swept by members of the bomb squad as well as operators from the Garfield County All Hazard Response Team (AHRT) to ensure no other IED’s had been planted around the park or rides. Our investigation has so far indicated that nobody in the public was at risk; it would appear that the suspect’s actions were limited to the property of the Glenwood Caverns. The initial two days of the investigation have been carried out in a slow, methodical manner in order to search the property, as well as the suspect’s residence to ensure the safety of the public and to begin to determine the extent of his criminal activity. The safety of the public, bomb disposal personnel, law enforcement and other first responders was the priority as well as making sure the Caverns were safe to reopen.

While this investigation is still ongoing and very active it is important to realize that given the amount of weaponry, ammunition, and explosive devices found, the suspect could have implemented an attack of devastating proportions upon our community and first responders.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office wishes to thank the employees and maintenance staff of the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park for their patience and ongoing assistance with this investigation. We would also like to extend out thanks to the Grand Junction Bomb Squad, Garfield County All Hazard Response Team, the Carbondale Police Department, the Garfield County Coroner, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their assistance in this ongoing investigation.

At this time, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office will be releasing no further information as it relates to this investigation. The Garfield County Coroner will release any identifying information of the suspect in accordance with their policies and procedures.

News release – Garfield County Sheriff’s Office
Date: October 29, 2023
Time: 10:25 a.m.

UPDATE: October 29, 2023, 10:25 a.m. – Yesterday morning, October 28, 2023, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a deceased male at the Glenwood Springs Adventure Park. The body was discovered prior to the opening of the park and was not related to any of the rides at the park.

The Glenwood Adventure Park staff has been extremely helpful in assisting with the investigation.

The investigation will continue today and the park will remain closed for the time being. The fact that there was entry into the park by an unauthorized individual after hours makes it important that the investigators not only address and identify the deceased individual but determine his probable cause of death pending a final report from the Garfield County Coroner. They also inspect the vehicle he drove to the scene.

In the interest of public safety, the investigators will also try to retrace the steps the intruder followed while in the park to assure that none of the equipment, buildings or rides have been tampered with.

We apologize to the public for any inconvenience or disruption of plans this ongoing investigation may cause. We appreciate the cooperation and understanding of the public while we work with the management of the Adventure Park to assure the overall safety of the public.

News release – Garfield County Sheriff’s Office
Date: October 28, 2023
Time: 2:10 p.m.

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO. – This morning shortly after 9:00 a.m., the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park for a death investigation. Several first responders arrived on scene and the investigation ensued.

The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has been closed to the public in order to preserve evidence and in the best interest of public safety.

The public is reminded to stay clear of this area to allow for the necessary road traffic of the first responders and allow them to do their job.