Styron Smith Didn't Want to Be Rescued in Raft Flip Because He's a Wanted Man?

In recent weeks, we've been reporting about victims who've drowned in Colorado waterways.

Included among them were Jacob and Daniel Foreman, two young brothers who drowned in the Little Thompson River.

Now comes a bizarre twist on this theme.

A report about a family in danger of drowning after a raft flipped over in the Arkansas River has turned into a search for a wanted man: Styron Smith, a 31-year-old from Cañon City.

Turns out Smith is an allegedly violent parole violator — and authorities believe that he survived the mishap and is now on the run.

At approximately 3:24 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, according to the Fremont County Sheriff's Office, a 911 call was placed about a raft that had turned over in the Arkansas River near Ash Street in Cañon City.

The caller said that five people wound up in the water, including a one-year-old child.

By the time emergency responders arrived at the scene, two members of the quartet had managed to get out of the water safely, and moments later, the child and her mother were rescued as well.

Still missing, however, was Smith, who wasn't wearing a life preserver.

Numerous agencies took part in the search for Smith, including Fremont Search and Rescue and reps from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Pueblo County, keeping up their efforts until darkness fell.

Authorities planned to continue the search at 6 a.m. the following morning — but a couple of things prevented that from happening.

First, the FCSO determined that Smith "had a nationwide warrant out of Colorado Department of Corrections for absconding from parole" following a prior assault conviction that resulted in him being "labeled violent."

Second, members of Smith's family contacted the office at around 5 a.m. on Sunday to say they'd found some of the clothes he'd been wearing at the time of the river accident; they'd been left at their Cañon City home.

As a result, they concluded that he'd managed to get out of the river and was okay.

This turn of events led the sheriff's office to conclude that "Smith is avoiding contact with FCSO deputies due to his outstanding warrant."

The search is now continuing on dry land. Smith is described as a five-foot, eight-inch, 150-pounder with black hair, brown eyes and dark skin. Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is encouraged to dial 719-784-3411, then press 1.

Here's a look at Smith's Colorado Department of Corrections mug shot.

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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