The disappearance of a 19-year-old Joe Keller has detectives from two states baffled with the lack of clues in this case, as the teen has seemingly dropped off the face of the earth. Keller, who was in the middle of a trek across the country with a group of friends before school started up again, has not been heard from since July 23.
According to Fox News on August 20, the Tennessee teen and his friends were staying at a ranch in Colorado. Keller went jogging on Forest Development Road 250 in Conejos County, which is near the ranch. It was about 4:30 in the afternoon when he went on this jog and split off from his friend, taking a different path along the winding mountain road. Keller, who is an athlete in great physical form, never returned from that jog.
Detectives from the Conejos County, Colorado, as well as detectives from Keller’s home state of Tennessee, retraced his steps along that rural road. The search for Keller consisted of people on foot, on ATVs and from the air with a helicopter. A K-9 unit was also deployed, but not so much as one clue was found.
A Facebook page, “Find Joe Keller” was set up for anyone to offer up information on Joe’s whereabouts. Authorities are looking into one tip left on Facebook, the report of a “suspicious black van” seen in the area when Keller went missing This is the only clue in this case since the teen went missing a month ago. Police today are hoping campers in the area might have seen Joe on his jog and if they did, they are asked to contact the detectives with any information.
Fox News reports that the “relatively small” Conejos County Sheriff’s Office got an offer from the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee, where Keller lives, for assistance in this case. They originally declined this offer, but last week they changed their mind and welcomed the detectives from Tennessee providing the extra help.
According to NBC News, Zoe Keller, who is the missing teen’s mother told the media, “It’s just an awful situation not knowing if your loved one is in heaven or in a terrible situation on earth or out in the wilderness.” Joe, who turned 19 on the day after he went missing, started his journey with two childhood buddies from their home in Cleveland, Tennessee.
They had arrived at their planned destination earlier that morning, which was a ranch near Antonito, Colorado. Keller and his friend, who he has known since kindergarten, Collin Gwaltney, took off for a jog and the two had planned to meet back at the ranch for dinner.
Gwaltney said that after about a quarter of a mile into the run the two split off on different paths, which was not unusual for the two because they ran at different paces. When Keller didn’t return to the ranch after two hours had passed, the search for the teen began.
A $50,000 reward is being offered by Joe Keller’s family for “information that helps find their son.” Joe’s father Neal Keller told the media, “”We’d just like to know where he is, what has happened, whether he is alive or dead.”
Joe Keller has a slight British accent and he is described as 5’7″ tall, weighing 160 lbs. with blond hair and hazel eyes. When he was last seen he was wearing red running shorts with reflective strips on the sides and blue running shoes.
Anyone who can offer any information on this case, please contact the Conejos County Sheriff’s Office at (719) 376-6778 or the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office at (423) 728-7300.