Law enforcement and volunteers searched for missing persons in two cold case investigations last week, but the cases remain cold.
The first search looked for the remains of Georgia Lee Rohner, who disappeared in 1986; the second looked for David Kramer, who disappeared in 2005.
No artifacts found during either search have been identified as human by an anthropologist, said Det. George Barter with the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office, though not all of the artifacts retrieved had been analyzed.
Rohner moved to Archuleta County area in 1985 and worked at a convenience store in Chama, N.M., that was owned by Pagosa resident James Mymern.
Rohner then disappeared around July 1986.
Mymern, the primary suspect in the case, told authorities a number of stories about Rohner’s disappearance, including that she had left the area and traveled to California (where she had family) on a motorcycle, and that he had driven her to the airport to fly to California.
According to the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office, Mymern and another individual went to Rohner’s apartment and cleaned out her things, which included toiletries and makeup.
Mymern’s ex-wife, Patsy, told the ACSO that Mymern drove her in 2001 to a residence off of Terry Robinson Road, off of U.S. 84, where he left her in the vehicle and said he walked off into the trees and that she had an eerie feeling about Mymern’s behavior.
Mymern later shot Patsy eight times (she survived) as she attempted to get into her vehicle at a Kingman, Ariz., store parking lot. Mymern hung himself in 2002 while in jail in Arizona.
Though no obvious clandestine graves or human remains were found during the search that included search dogs and 30-35 volunteers, the area continues to be one of interest to the ACSO in finding Rohner.
While admitting that they were out of leads on the case, Barter and Det. Rich Valdez said they’re not out of options, which may include a more intensive search of the area searched last week.
The two pointed to the interest of the search dogs in the site, though scents diffuse over time.
“I still think that area is definitely an area of interest,” Valdez said. “At some point, there were human remains there,” (though, as Barter pointed out, they could be unrelated and from homesteaders or such).
Barter noted his intent to continue searching when he said the first question he wrote down about Rohner’s case — “Where’s Georgia Rohner?” — was still unanswered.
On the heels of the Rohner search, the ACSO used the volunteers gathered to search for Kramer.
Kramer, 19 at the time, disappeared in May 2005, from a camping party on the lower Blanco River near the Blanco River Campground, off of Blanco River Road.
Kramer went missing overnight, but his tent, shoes and other items were left at the site.
After weeks of searching and investigating immediately following the report of Kramer’s disappearance, it was suggested that Kramer may have rolled off a 30-foot embankment while sleeping and was swept away by the high water and swift current.
Despite the conclusion at the time, Barter and Valdez felt that the case is “new enough, odd enough” and has enough unanswered questions to warrant another look.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions that need to be answered. ... This case is not going to go away anytime soon,” Barter said.
Last week’s search covered more area than the prior search, and, while coming up empty handed, Barter and Valdez still have leads to follow.
“With hard work and a few breaks, we could have a real case,” Barter said.
We’re not going to give up on them,” Valdez said. “We owe it to the families.”
In the searches, 30-35 searchers, as well as two cadaver/air-scent search dogs, volunteered their efforts over three days, scouring pine needles, oak brush, and other obstacles, putting in somewhere around 400-500 hours of work, Valdez said.
“They did a phenomenal job,” Valdez said.
“It’s a good town,” Barter said, emphasizing the willingness of volunteers to look for the victims.
Involved in the searches were the ACSO, Archuleta County Emergency Operations, Dolores K-9 unit, Taos K-9 unit, Coroner Carl Macht, Colorado Mounted Rescue, Colorado Mounted Rangers, and Upper San Juan Search and Rescue.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Barter at 264-8450 or Valdez at 264-8443.