CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The search for the remains of a missing 13-month-old Wyoming boy started Tuesday at a northern Colorado landfill.
Authorities have charged a Cheyenne man with manslaughter in the death of Silas Anthony Ojeda. They’re searching the landfill near Ault, Colorado, because investigators say the suspect told them he disposed of Ojeda’s body in a trash container.
Capt. Linda Gesell of the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday that officers from her department, the Wyoming Army National Guard and other agencies are participating in the search. About 30 people a day from her department and the Wyoming Army National Guard will continue working on the search with the expectation that it may take weeks, she said.
Searchers will focus on an area 25 yards wide and 100 yards long where the trash is about 15-feet deep, she said.
“We have a one percent chance of finding something. So the odds for us aren’t good, but we’re going to do this,” Gesell said on Monday. “We’ll probably re-evaluate after a couple of weeks.”
Gesell said her department bases the one percent chance of success on statements from experts who have done similar searches, as well as from landfill managers who know firsthand how much trash is piled there.
Searchers will remove trash with a frontend loader and a backhoe and examine each bucketful, Gesell said. The search promises to be difficult both physically and emotionally for those involved, she said.
“Most of us are parents, and anyone who’s a parent - I don’t want to outlive my kids,” Gesell said. “That’s just a nightmare for a parent, but it’s especially a nightmare for this little guy. It’s tough. We know it’s part of our job, but it’s never easy.”
A criminal complaint released Monday charged Logan Hunter Rogers, 23, of Cheyenne with involuntary manslaughter and child endangering with a controlled substance in Ojeda’s death. A judge has set a Nov. 9 hearing to decide whether he will stand trial.
According to a detective’s statement filed in court, Ojeda’s mother was Rogers’ girlfriend. Police started looking for the boy after Richard Ojeda, his grandfather, reported him missing last Wednesday.
“He was perfect. All grandchildren are perfect,” Ojeda said of his grandson in an interview on Friday. “We just want him home so we can give him a decent burial.”
Rogers first told investigators that he had given the boy to another man to take him fishing, but he later said that members of a motorcycle club had taken him, according to the detective’s statement. The child endangering count alleges that Rogers took the boy before his death to a house where people were smoking methamphetamine.
Rogers finally told investigators that Ojeda had died after falling at the family home and hitting his head. Rogers said he disposed of the boy’s body in a trash container at a local community college.