Police in Colorado on Friday confirmed that human remains discovered buried in the San Luis Valley in January belonged to mountain biking legend Mike Rust, who mysteriously disappeared seven years ago after his house was burglarized.
Rust was an outspoken and somewhat eccentric figure who was seminal in the advancement of mountain biking, renowned for his creativity in designing some of the earliest versions of modern-day mountain bikes back in the 1960’s.
The 62-year-old Rust was reported missing in Saguache County, Colorado in 2009. According to information and reports compiled by the Charley Project, Rust’s last communication was with a friend on March 31, 2009. He angrily told that friend that someone had burglarized his house, and he was going to track down the burglars who had left tire tracks in the dirt and snow outside his home.
Rust was never heard from again, but the motorcycle he had been riding to track down the burglars was found at the bottom of a steep ravine in the San Isabel National Forest roughly 20 miles east of his house with his blood on the seat and the foot clutch.
Authorities stated it didn’t look as though the bike had been in a collision, but rather it appeared to have been intentionally dragged and thrown down into the ravine.
While his family had long suspected he had been murdered, without the recovery of his body, the issue had been a dark cloud over their heads. Now, they say the identification of his body has provided some closure, while opening new questions.
“We believe Mike was murdered,” Carl Rust, Mike’s brother, told Denver’s CBS Local. "And then being missing for seven years it just tears a hole out of you."
When the remains were found in January, the family suspected they belonged to Rust, given that they were found with a signature belt buckle Rust always wore. But they had to wait for the official lab results.
“You wait and you wait, and even though we knew, it was just kind of, 'Oh man we can't move to the next step without that formal process,'” Carl Rust told the news station.
Now, his brother says he still wants to figure out how Rust came to pass.
“What happened, what went on, how did he die?" Carl told Denver 7 news. “Frustration with not knowing, that’s the worst part, is not knowing.”
The mysterious circumstances around Rust’s disappearance, as well as his influence on mountain biking, were examined in a documentary from Grit & Thistle Film Company titled The Rider and The Wolf.
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