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Families keep waiting for word on ‘unaccounted for’ loved ones

DENVER — It’s now more than a week since historic flooding began in Colorado.

Water levels are dropping and recovery efforts that will last years in some cases are getting started with urgency.

But hundreds of families are still waiting to learn what happened to their loved ones. The tragedy of what has taken place is far from over.

Spending time inside Rockley Arts Store has helped Becky Bechle survive six long days of silence. “It’s painful. Twelve years ago my mom passed away so the thought I could lose my dad was rough.”

She’s spent six days wondering what happened to Allen Bechle, her father. He was in Estes Park when the rain started falling. He’s an avid outdoorsman, so that’s positive.

As of early Wednesday Becky’s was one of 143 families across the state with loved ones missing or unaccounted for.

The news is not always good, as Sharon Boland learned Thursday. Last week she and her husband Gerry Boland took two cars to escape the flooding that was happening in the Lyons area. Her husband never made it to join her.

A beloved volleyball coach in Longmont, his students searched for him and Thursday morning rescuers found his body. “I’m so grateful. I just want to thank everybody.”

Many families are dealing with questions and uncertainty while trying to remain hopeful.

Becky Bechle’s phone rang on Thursday. “Just a huge weight off my shoulders and relief. Relief,” she says.

Her dad finally got cell service even though he’s still stranded somewhere around Estes Park.

The call ended six days of forced smiles hiding a woman who was struggling. Most of her customers at the store don’t know about her ordeal. The fear of losing a loved one.

“I do love him. He raised me and I love him very much.”

Becky was lucky. Her ordeal ended happily.

“So today I’ll go home and sleep like a baby.”