Cherry Creek Radio in Montrose, CO put out the word for listeners to join a foot search for KBNG-FM “103.7 The Blast” morning host Rick Steele, who has been missing since Thursday Evening (7/1). Authorities used search dogs throughout the holiday weekend, but did not find the 48-year-old DJ.
Steele failed to show up for work Friday morning and it was determined that a friend saw him pull out of his driveway about 7:00 pm Thursday in his Ford pickup truck. Co-workers located the truck near Highway 50 east of Montrose, unlocked, with one of Steele’s two dogs inside. That’s when the local sheriff’s office became involved in the search.
Steele’s other dog was later found wandering along a road in the area, but there has yet been no sign of him. A land and water search by the Montrose county Sheriff’s Posse along the South Canal, including K9 units, was unsuccessful.
“Investigators and Posse members believe Steele somehow wound up in the high, swiftly moving canal waters either as the result of a fall or in trying to rescue a dog that fell in. All calls to Steele since Friday morning have gone immediately to voicemail. No personal items of Steele’s were found and there is no indication of foul play,” Cherry Creek Radio Montrose said on its website.
The Sheriff’s office has now removed restrictions on allowing people into the area and a public search was being organized by friends of Steele, using Cherry Creek Radio to put out the word, for Monday evening. The radio stations, however, are urging volunteers to “PLEASE put your own safety first when searching for Rick…the last thing anyone wants is another disappearance or injury.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Radio is at its best when organizing a community response in an emergency situation. It has to be tough when that emergency strikes so close to home for a radio staff.