Chris Vigil: A Look at Fort Collins’ Oldest Missing Person Case From 1978
9-year-old Christopher (Chris) Vigil disappeared while hiking the Grey Rock Mountain Trail in the Poudre Canyon with his family on April 30, 1978.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children recognizes Vigil's case as the oldest open missing persons case from Fort Collins.
According to The Charley Project, Vigil hiked ahead of his family and vanished shortly after. His mother called the police to report him missing at 5:30 p.m., three hours after he disappeared.
Multiple hikers were present on the trail that day.
Two women later reported seeing a dark-haired man wearing a straw cowboy hat eating lunch near them.
According to the women, they heard the man talking to a boy before the boy started screaming. However, they were too scared to go investigate.
Once the yelling stopped, the man had already disappeared from the trail. A Diet Pepsi, Vigil's favorite drink, was found laying on the ground nearby.
Vigil disappeared on a cold, windy, snowy night on the trail. With freezing temperatures, police believe he could not have survived the night without shelter.
Authorities launched an extensive search, but never found the boy.
Witnesses reported seeing a "scared, "confused," and "dirty" child who they believed to be Vigil in the coming months, but officials were unable to verify the sightings.
42 years later, the disappearance of Christopher Vigil remains Fort Collin's oldest missing person case.
On the day he vanished, Vigil was a popular honors student at Cache la Poudre Elementary school, where participated on the track team.
A childhood friend of Vigil's, who believes the dark-haired man abducted him, has created a Facebook page about his case.