Mystery solved: Indiana man’s remains identified after 33 years in Colorado

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) have finally identified the human remains that were found in a remote location on Wolf Creek Pass in 1991. The remains belong to Steven Kenneth Risku, who was born in Indiana in 1957 and had a history of traveling to California.

How the identification was made

The identification was made possible by using Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy (FIGG), a technique that combines DNA analysis and genealogical research to trace the ancestry of unknown individuals. The CBI Cold Case team submitted a DNA sample from the remains for FIGG testing in 2023, which resulted in a development of information that led to the confirmation of Risku’s identity through dental records.

FIGG is a relatively new and powerful tool that has been used to solve several cold cases across the country, including the infamous Golden State Killer case in 2018. The CBI has been using FIGG since 2019 and has successfully identified four other unidentified remains in Colorado.

Who was Steven Kenneth Risku?

Steven Kenneth Risku was born on August 16, 1957 in Indianapolis, Indiana. According to his family, he was an adventurous person who loved the outdoors and frequently traveled to California for unknown reasons. His last known address was in Indianapolis, but he had not been in contact with his family for several years before his death.

Steven Kenneth Risku

Risku’s family was notified of his identification by the MCSO and the CBI. They expressed their gratitude for the efforts of the investigators and their relief to finally have some closure after decades of uncertainty. They also shared some photos of Risku as a young man and as an adult.

What happened to Steven Kenneth Risku?

The cause and manner of Risku’s death are still unknown and under investigation. Authorities are unsure if foul play was involved or if he died of natural causes or an accident. They are also trying to determine why and how he ended up in a remote location on Wolf Creek Pass, which is about 250 miles southwest of Denver and near the border with New Mexico.

The MCSO and the CBI are asking for the public’s help to provide any information that could shed light on Risku’s life and death. Anyone who knew him or had any contact with him in Colorado or elsewhere is urged to call the MCSO at 719-658-2600.

“The identification of Mr. Risku is a tremendous first step in helping provide his family with answers,” said Mineral County Sheriff Terry Wetherill. “If anyone has information as to why or how Steven Risku was at a remote location on Wolf Creek Pass or if anyone has any additional questions, please contact the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office.”

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