Family members of the teenage boy who tragically died alongside his mother and aunt while trying to live off-the-grid in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains have found solace in the discovery of a rosary with the boy. The 14-year-old’s mummified body was found by a hiker in the Gunnison National Forest, followed by the remains of his mother, Rebecca Vance, and her sister, Christine Vance, found by sheriffs the next day.
The rosary found with the boy was explained by his surviving aunt, Trevala Jara, to be a special set of blessed beads that she had given to her stepsisters and nephew before their adventure into the wilderness. Autopsies revealed that at the time of his death, the teenager weighed only 40 pounds, less than half of the average weight for boys his age. The coroner determined that all three individuals died from malnutrition and hypothermia.
The family explained that the trio had decided to leave Colorado Springs and live off-the-grid in the wilderness. Jara and her husband had urged them to use their mountain property instead, which had amenities such as an RV with a generator. However, Rebecca and Christine were adamant about their desire to be away from people and the influences of society.
Jara described Rebecca as reserved and intellectual, while Christine was more outgoing. Despite their determination to live off-the-grid, they were ill-prepared and only relied on YouTube videos for preparation. Authorities discovered a messy campsite with empty food containers, survival books, and a lean-to near a fire pit.
Jara expressed her grief and wished to reach a point where she can cherish the memories of her loved ones. She also hoped that their tragedy would serve as a cautionary tale for others considering a similar path. Jara emphasized the importance of having experience and a lifeline when venturing into the wilderness, urging people to think twice before attempting to survive off-the-grid.