A Durango man who had been missing for weeks was found dead Friday after authorities found him inside his car several hundred yards down Smelter Mountain.
Jann Smith, La Plata County coroner, said an autopsy will be performed Tuesday on David Mondragon, 31, to try to understand more about the circumstances around his death.
It appeared Mondragon drove to the top of Smelter Mountain, up County Road 212, where a number of radio towers are located. The car then went off the mountain, traveling about 200 yards down the hill, Smith said. Authorities are unsure why the car went off the hill.
“We’re not sure at this time if it was accidental or not,” she said. “But it went off.”
Smith said it appeared Mondragon died two or three days before he was found.
The search for Mondragon started earlier this month as family members attempted to locate him. His family declined comment for this story.
A poster said Mondragon was last seen around 9 p.m. April 10, leaving Steamworks Brewing Co and driving a silver 1998 Toyota 4Runner.
Smith said hikers Friday spotted a few items on the top of Smelter Mountain, and they notified police. Durango Police were then able to determine the items belonged to Mondragon and searched the area for him.
Smith said it appeared Mondragon died from the injuries of the car going off the hill, but authorities will know more after the autopsy Tuesday. She said foul play is not suspected.
Mondragon was in Hilltop House, a community corrections center in Durango, she said.
“I think he was doing well,” she added.
The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency in the investigation. Spokesman Chris Burke did not have additional information Monday. A call to the investigator in charge was not immediately returned.