A 58-year-old Nebraska man who Mountain Rescue Aspen members were searching for on Saturday in the Capitol Creek Valley apparently went missing in mid-May.
Ali Lazem Kenani’s car was found in a driveway on May 12 and was believed to be abandoned. The vehicle was removed, and only when Kenani was declared missing on June 6th did officers reexamine the case of the abandoned car.
“What usually happens in these kinds of cases, more often than not, is that people abandoned their cars on private property,” an official said, noting the vehicle appeared “pretty beat up” with extensive hail damage. “At that point, we had no idea the owner of the vehicle was missing.”
The reopening of that case lead to last weekend’s search of a 900-acre area including public and private lands near the site where the vehicle turned up, reports the Aspen Daily News. A crew of twenty-five from Garfield County Search and Rescue, Mountain Rescue Aspen, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Forest Service participated in the all-day search. Dogs and a drone team using heat-seeking technology also aided in the search, according to the press release issued Saturday. They found no clues as to Kenani’s whereabouts.
Kenani was driving cross-country to visit his child and ex-wife, and other than an ordinary interaction with a police officer 2 days previous (he was lost), so far, there are no clues as to how Kenani’s car ended up in the remote location in the valley he apparently never intended to visit. There is “no indication” he headed up that way for a hike.
At the time the car was found in mid-May, Capitol Creek Road was not cleared of snow much past mile marker 8 and the driveway where the car was found was the last available turnoff before the road dead-ended into a snowbank. The trailhead accessing public lands and the trail to Capitol Lake at that time was about 1 mile past that location, buried in snow.
The case remains open and under investigation. Ali is a 58-year-old White male. At the time of his disappearance, he was 5’9″ tall and weighed 185 lbs. He has brown hair and brown eyes.