Rainbow Family Gathering Update: Human Remains Found, Jacob Cyr Still Missing

A portrait of Jacob Cyr.
A portrait of Jacob Cyr. Family photo courtesy of Amanda Cyr
The fiftieth annual gathering of the Rainbow Family, a throwback collective that takes its cues from the original hippie era, was held in the Adams Park area of northwest Routt County over the Fourth of July weekend. The next month, Jacob Cyr, a 32-year-old Iowa resident who'd traveled to Colorado for the festivities, was reported missing, prompting searches that failed to turn up any clues.

Just over a week ago, however, a human skull was discovered in Adams Park, with more remains located in the days that followed. Any possible connection with Cyr awaits completion of the identification process, which is currently underway.

Amanda Cyr, Jacob's sister, spoke about her brother for an August 24 Westword post. The two are "very close in age," she said. "He's less than a year older than me, and we did everything together growing up. We weren't in as close of contact as adults, but he's a really nice person and very spiritual. He wants to be at peace with everybody. I think that's why he's been going to these Rainbow Family gatherings."

The crowd for the fiftieth-anniversary edition coalesced slowly, arriving in the weeks prior to Independence Day; a percentage of the throng stayed around afterward to clean up. According to Amanda, Jacob was supposed to be part of that crew, which reportedly didn't leave the area until August 8.

Because of that, no one panicked when Jacob failed to check in a week or two after the gathering. "I didn't even know he went," Amanda noted. "It was our mom who told me, and she said he was supposed to return in late July. That's when we started calling him, and he wasn't answering — but he told us before he left that they weren't going to have service out there, because he was in the mountains."

Amanda stressed that Jacob had no history of going off the grid for long stretches at a time: "He wasn't the type of person to do that, because he wouldn't have wanted us to worry. And he made plans to go hiking with my brother, who lives in North Carolina, in early to mid-August."
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A photo of a past Rainbow Family gathering shared by the U.S. Forest Service in a presentation about planning for the 2022 event.
Around that time, Amanda found Annual Rainbow Family Gathering of the Tribes, an active and sizable Facebook group that lists more than 27,000 members. On August 4, she posted: "I'm looking for my brother who was at the gathering in Colorado. Nobody in my family has been able to get a hold of him, his name is Jacob Cyr. Can anyone help?"

Members of the community responded, including a woman who revealed that Jacob's phone and wallet had turned up among lost-and-found belongings during the cleanup. "She also said Jacob wanted to go hiking in the mountains and she told him not to, but he went anyway," Amanda recounted.

Armed with this information, Amanda contacted the Routt County Sheriff's Office on August 8 and provided staffers with the woman's best guess about where Jacob had planned to hike. Three days later, according to Undersheriff Scherar: "Routt County Search and Rescue went out with the sheriff's office drone pilot. They searched about 1,000 acres via drone and then took the footage back to Search and Rescue and analyzed it on their high-definition TV to narrow down an area for a foot search. They went back out on August 13 with volunteers and dogs to search a more precise, approximately 300-acres area. But no clues were found."

That changed last week. An RCSO news release issued on September 6 noted that two days earlier, "a skull was found on Sunday by a hunter, north of Adams Park, in northwest Routt County. Members of the Routt County Sheriff's Office and the Routt County Coroner did an immediate search of the area and could not find any other remains."

But the crew didn't stop there, according to a follow-up bulletin: "On Friday September 9, Routt County Sheriff’s Office Detectives responded with Routt County Search and Rescue to the Adams Park area to continue searching for additional remains in the area that a human skull was found on Sunday, September 4. They were accompanied by three dog teams from out of the area. Dog teams located more skeletal human remains in an area approximately one mile from where the skull was recovered. The remains were collected by the Routt County Coroner."

The statement stresses: "It is unknown at this time if the remains are those of Jacob Cyr, who was last seen in the area on June 18, 2022 and reported missing on August 8, 2022."

Westword has reached out to the Routt County Sheriff's Office for an update.  Anyone with information about Jacob Cyr can contact the Routt County Sheriff's Office at 970-879-1090.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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