An elderly couple was found dead on Friday after the East Troublesome Fire destroyed their home just outside of Grand Lake.

Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin announced the news in a Friday evening press conference.

86-year-old Lyle Hileman and 84-year-old Marilyn Hileman had refused to evacuate the fires. Their bodies were later recovered in the destroyed home.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis Tweeted out condolences.

Schroetlin read a statement released by the Hileman family:

"Our parents, Lyle and Marilyn Hileman, loved Grand Lake. Married at a young age, they honeymooned in the area in 1952. Years later, they would buy the property adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park. The property became a lifelong mission to create 'heaven on earth' to which family, friends and strangers - who quickly became friends -  would be drawn. 

On Wednesday evening, several friends contacted them with offers of support in the evacuation. Their friends Richard Cline, along with safety officials, drove through roadblocks in an effort to rescue the Hilemans. All offers to leave were refused. At 86 and 84 years of age, their only desire was to be together in the home they loved. 

In the spring of 2020, they sold the property to their son Glen with hopes of staying there as long as physically possible. On the evening of Oct. 21, they called Glen with news, 'it happened.' When pressed, they then shared the fire had began in the fields, barns and adjacent homes. They were calm, resolute and adamant they would not leave. They asked Glen to call his siblings that they were in their basement in an area they felt safe. Prior to hanging up the phone, Marilyn confirmed they smelled smoke. After contacting all of his siblings, Glen attempted to contact his parents again but there was no answer. It would be late Thursday before confirmation would come that the house was destroyed.

But our family feels comfort in the knowledge our parents left this world together and on their own terms. They leave a legacy of hard work and determination to overcome - something all of Grand County will need. 

Our family looks forward to continuing their legacy on the property and working shoulder-to-shoulder with our neighbors in rebuilding and restoring the sacred part of God's world."

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