Tragedy at the Colorado Geological Survey

Title: Tragedy at the Colorado Geological Survey

Publication: The Outcrop, August 2007, p. 42

The Rocky Mountain geological community is shocked and disturbed by the murder of Alyssa Heberton-Morimoto, a Colorado Geological Survey intern. On June 26 while mapping in the San Isabel National Forest, Morimoto was working with Karen Houck, also in service of the survey. They separated when Houck decided to walk to a ridge for lunch while Morimoto drove. Houck radioed Morimoto to report that she would be late and a few minutes later Houck received a radio transmission from Morimoto screaming for help.

When Houck reached the vehicle the keys and Morimoto were missing. Walking out to reach cell phone coverage a man gave Houck a ride until a ranger was intercepted. This man was later arrested as the suspect in the murder.

Morimoto, a 24-year-old Denver native, was a graduate student in environmental science at the University of Colorado Denver. Alyssa graduated from Denver’s Waldorf School where her mother teaches math and she also had hoped to teach. She lived with her husband and parents.

Vince Mathews, director of the CGS, noted that this could have been a double tragedy and that “everyone who has people who go out alone is concerned and re­examining their safety procedures.”

RMAG wishes to extend heart felt condolences to the Morimoto family and members of the Colorado Geological Survey.