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Suspicious death under investigation

Contact: Shannon Cordingly, Public Information Officer, 970-376-7000 or 


On Friday, May 13, 2011 at about 5 pm, workers were maintaining an irrigation ditch along Lake Creek Road in the Edwards area of Eagle County.  About one mile south of Hwy 6, the workers located a backpack containing personal property.  


The workers called a Sheriff’s Deputy to turn over the property, which included some cash. The Deputy responded to the area and began to look around the area for any clues as to the owner of the backpack.  The Deputy located a partially decomposed body in some trees nearby. It is believed the person was dead at that location for several days.

A Sheriff’s Office Detective and Deputy Eagle County Coroner responded to the scene and began an investigation.  The male body was identified as Christopher Don Hodenpel (age 38, previously from Aurora, Colorado).  Hodenpel is a Korean male, about 5’5” tall, weighing about 125 pounds, with black hair and black eyes.   


A preliminary autopsy was performed on Hodenpel.  No apparent trauma was located.  Toxicology studies are pending.  No obvious cause of death has been determined at this time; however no immediate signs of criminal involvement have been found either.   


The ECSO is looking for any information on Hodenpel and why he was in Eagle County.   


If you think you may have any information about this incident, please call the Eagle County Sheriff's Office at 970-328-8500 or Eagle County Crime Stoppers at 970-328-7007, 1-800-972-TIPS, submit your tip online at, or text a tip from your cell phone by texting STOPCRIME plus your message to CRIMES (274637).  If your tip leads to the arrest and indictment of any suspect involved, you could earn up to a $1,000 reward from the Crime Stoppers.