Since April 18 — the day that Ksenia Quiros' body was found near North Cheyenne Cañon — El Paso County Search and Rescue has been deployed many times. Recently, the highly trained unit was called upon to help locate lost or stranded hikers at least twice in one day.
But when Quiros, a grieving mother, was on an apparent suicide mission in mid-April, Search and Rescue's involvement was limited to two assignments amid the four-day search. The Independent obtained official reports from the search, which we analyzed for the feature story that starts here.
Search and Rescue members are volunteers, but they're also top-notch. They undergo rigorous training to achieve and maintain certification by the Mountain Rescue Association, the oldest search and rescue association in the United States.
The search for Quiros was commanded by the Colorado Springs Fire Department. Fire officials maintain that they, too, are well trained in certain types of rescues, and that a dearth of clues essentially rendered moot the potential for El Paso County Search and Rescue to help them in the field.
County Sheriff Bill Elder takes a longer view, saying city and county should end jurisdictional debate and merge offices of emergency management to better respond to citizens' needs.