Routt National Forest, where a hunter found a human skeleton in September 2007. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Routt National Forest, where a hunter found a human skeleton in September 2007. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Bushwhacking through a dense section of Routt National Forest in the shadow of Little Haystack Mountain, a hunter finds a human skeleton.

“If I hadn’t been at that exact spot at that time of the morning with the sun glinting off the skull, I would not have seen it,” said the hunter, a Brighton resident who asked that his name not be used. “Something happened. Somebody wanted me to find it.”

With snow in the forecast, the hunter ties a rope to a tree to mark his find, packs the skull carefully in his backpack, and continues his trek.

He calls 911 the next day, and the Jackson County coroner takes possession of the remains, thought to belong to a young woman.

The Sheriff’s Office writes up a full report, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is notified, but news of the find doesn’t reach the FBI for six months.