Off-grid Colorado family dies of malnutrition in wilderness

16:46 01.09.2023

In a tragic turn of events, the decomposing bodies of three individuals were found at a remote campsite in the Rocky Mountains earlier this summer. It has now been confirmed that the trio, identified as sisters Christine and Rebecca Vance, both in their 40s, and Rebecca's 14-year-old son, died while attempting to live off the grid. Autopsy reports released this week have confirmed suspicions that the cause of death was likely malnutrition and starvation during the harsh winter months.

The campsite where their bodies were discovered, located in Gunnison County, Colorado, was exposed to several feet of snow and below-freezing temperatures. It was noted that no food was found at the camp, indicating the trio's inability to sustain themselves in the wilderness. The bodies were found inside a small, zipped-up tent and one was found outside in the camp. Personal belongings, including survival books and tarps, were discovered at the scene, as well as a lean-to built from local logs over a firepit.

The revelation that Rebecca's son was found with a rosary that had belonged to his mother's stepsister, Trevala Jara, added to the emotional weight of the situation. Jara, tearfully speaking to the Associated Press, described how she had urged the group not to venture into the wilderness, questioning why they would want to leave her behind. She recalled her desperate pleas, asking them to reconsider their plans. Jara emphasized the dangers of trying to survive in the wilderness, now hoping that others will learn from this devastating incident.

The sisters had been planning to live off the grid since the fall of 2021, driven by their belief that societal changes, exacerbated by the pandemic and politics, brought out the worst in humanity. Rebecca Vance, in particular, felt that the world was on the brink of an apocalyptic end and desired to escape the influences of modern society. Jara described Rebecca as highly intelligent, while her son was a homeschooled math prodigy. Christine, on the other hand, initially had reservations about leaving, but ultimately joined her sister and nephew to ensure they wouldn't be alone.

The circumstances surrounding their deaths raise questions about their level of preparedness. Jara revealed that the sisters had watched YouTube videos to prepare for their life in the wilderness but were woefully underprepared for the harsh realities they would face. Jara and her husband had even offered their own property in the mountains as a safe alternative, but the sisters declined the offer.

The tragic discovery was made by a hiker who stumbled upon one of the bodies on July 9, prompting them to alert the authorities. The Gunnison County Sheriff's Office subsequently located the other two bodies the following day. The bodies had been in the camp for an extended period of time, and the autopsy reports confirmed that the victims had succumbed to malnutrition and hypothermia.

The Vance family's story serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the dangers of venturing into the wilderness unprepared. Their tragic end underscores the need for proper planning and understanding of survival techniques before undertaking such a journey. Trevala Jara, devastated by the loss of her loved ones, hopes that others will heed this warning and avoid encountering similar hardships.

As the community mourns the loss of the Vance family, their story serves as a reminder of the importance of preparation and knowledge when embarking on wilderness adventures. The wilderness can be unforgiving, and it is crucial to equip oneself with the necessary skills and resources to ensure survival.

/ Friday, September 1, 2023, 4:46 PM /

themes:  Colorado

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