Missing father and son presumed dead as search is called off

Damian McManus and Evan McManus.

Damian McManus and Evan McManus.

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. — The missing Minnesota father and son who went missing April 2 when they set out on a hike in the Echo Lake area at the base of Mount Evans are presumed dead, a family friend wrote on Facebook.

“The search has been thorough and comprehensive and it is in the judgment of the professionals that they have done all they can and they believe that they could not have survived,” Andrea Bouzara wrote on a family Facebook page.

“The McManus family wants to express their deep gratitude for all of those who were involved in the search for their loved ones. They have also been encouraged and held up by all of the love and prayers from all over the world.”

There were 25 to 30 people searching the area for a fourth day Wednesday but they found no evidence of where Damian McManus, 51, and his son Evan McManus, 19, of St. Louis Park, Minn., might be. On Wednesday night, officials officially called off the search.

Fifty searchers from nine search and rescue teams plowed through more than 3 feet of snow and thick timber searching for the men since Sunday.

The father and son were on a spring break trip when they didn’t return from a hike on April 2. They were last spotted at a Lakewood restaurant on the morning of April 2 based on a credit card transaction and their SUV was found in the Echo Lake Campground parking lot.

Family members had come to Colorado from Minnesota, including Catherine McManus, Damian’s wife and Evan’s mother, and Lauren McManus, Evan’s twin sister.