Reese Graba found safe: His need for alone time inadvertently prompts massive search

Update: As we noted in our original coverage below, a large number of rescue professionals and volunteers fanned out over the Button Rock Dam/Ralph Price Reservoir area in search of Reese Graba, a 23-year-old Longmont resident who'd been missing since Friday.

At the end of their efforts yesterday, they'd had no success -- until Graba walked out of the woods, safe, sound and surprised by all the activity he'd inadvertently caused when he decided he needed some extended solitude.

"He showed up at his parking spot last night as they were wrapping up," reveals Commander Jeff Satur, spokesman for the Longmont Police Department, who puts the time of his appearance at 5:46 p.m. "He said he just needed some time to be alone and went up into the hills."

According to Satur, Graba didn't tell anyone how long he'd be gone -- and when he hadn't turned up again after two days, "it obviously caused a lot of worry in his parents' house."

It also cost a considerable amount of coin. Agencies involved in the rescue operation included the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, which ran point on the mission, as well as Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, Front Range Rescue Dogs, Boulder County Sheriff Mounted Patrol, Boulder Emergency Services, Longmont Emergency Unit, Lyons Fire Department, Longmont Rangers and Copters for a Cause, not to mention assorted volunteers.

"I really want to thank all of them," Satur notes. "They put their heart and soul into finding him and Boulder County did an excellent job coordinating everything."

Under certain circumstances, those who are rescued are asked to pay the expenses for the operation. Will Graba? "That's being evaluated," says Satur, "but he didn't know it was going on, so he may not have to."

In any event, Satur has this advice for people heading into the wilderness alone: "It's always a good idea to let people know where you're going, when you're going, and when you expect to return. That way, family members won't worry -- and if you're overdue, it's very helpful to have a starting point."

Continue to read our previous coverage about the search for Reese Graba.

Original post, 10:50 a.m. June 24: A few short years ago, Reese Graba was a star for Silver Creek High School's football team.

Now, however, the 23-year-old Longmont resident is the subject of a search in Boulder County.

The sheriff's office believes he may be in the vicinity of Button Rock Dam/Ralph Price Reservoir.

Look below for more information about Graba and the ongoing search, as well as a larger version of the photo seen here.

The 2008 season appears to have been very good for Graba, who was a running back for the Silver Creek Raptors.

An item in a Longmont Times-Call article from that year noted that "Reese Graba ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns as Silver Creek won its season opener" over Rifle by a 35-6 margin.

A few months later, the Carbon Valley Farmer & Miner shared the following: "Starting with a defensive battle that saw the two teams trade punts, the Raptors' go-to man, Reese Graba, broke over the middle and put Silver Creek on the 6-yard line. He pushed again to the 3-yard line before allowing Alan Crabbs the final lunge with a simple draw play."

Graba graduated from Silver Creek in 2009, but he appears to have remained in the Longmont area. Cut to recent days, when, according to the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, the Longmont Police Department received a report that Graba was missing, having last been seen on Friday.

Before long, law enforcers found Graba's vehicle at the trailhead of the Button Rock Dam/Ralph Price Reservoir. This discovery prompted BCSO deputies, joined by Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, Front Range Rescue Dogs, Boulder County Sheriff Mounted Patrol, Boulder Emergency Services, Longmont Emergency Unit, Lyons Fire Department, Longmont Rangers and Copters for a Cause to launch an extensive search. But as of yesterday evening, Graba had not been found.

The personnel expected to be back on the scene today. In the meantime, anyone with knowledge of Graba's whereabouts is encouraged to contact Longmont Police Detective Stephen Desmond at 303-651-8555 and reference Longmont Police. The case number is 13-4967.

Here's a larger version of a recent Graba photo.

More from our News archive circa September 2012: "Photos: Avery Workman found safe -- but was she a runaway or drugging victim?"

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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