I would like to start out by stating the following information was derived from police reports and witness statements that I obtained from the Larimer County Sheriffs Office. Everything is based on facts and is not of my own speculation. I went over the files several times and I have my own theory as to what happened to 9yo Christopher Vigil. I believe the investigators came to the same conclusions. But without any physical evidence this case may never be updated to Abducted. The police report contained 95 pages. Only 54 of those pages were released to me.
Christopher William Vigil was born August 24th 1968 to Marian and Leroy Vigil in Laporte Colorado. A small town of about 2000 residents located at the foot of Poudre Canyon about 65 miles North of Denver Colorado. Chris was my friend and neighbor.
Chris was your typical 9 year old boy that attended Cache la Poudre elementary school, Known to the locals as just CLPE.
Chris was a straight A student who was on the honor roll for 3 years. Very popular at school. However, after school he would rather go home and draw then go outside and play with his friends. Chris was an avid reader. He would check out 3 or 4 books from the library every week on different subjects. He was very curious and asked his mother a lot of question on the subjects he was reading.He was into bible history and wanted a bible of his own. Chris and I used to ride one of those red British double Decker buses to church at Meadow Lark Church of Christ in Fort Collins.
Chris was bright and loved to talk and meet new people. He was not afraid to just walk up to a stranger and start a conversation with them. He was very generous and would share everything-including his own money.
Chris was healthy and loved the outdoors. He was fascinated by the stars and loved astrology.
He would run at the school track 2 miles almost every night. You could catch him swimming every Wednesday night after church and Roller skating any chance he got.
Chris and his mother would hop on their bikes on the weekends and ride around. Even as far as Fort Collins about 5 miles south of Laporte. They loved to explore new places together.
Chris loved TV too. He would watch Saturday morning cartoons with his 4 year old Brother Eric whom he adored. Like any 9 year old boy his favorite were superheroes.
If you asked Chris what his favorite food was. He would always answer “junk Food” Which I guess balanced out the fact his favorite pop was diet Pepsi.
Chris always had plans for the summer.
Chris had family members that drove trucks over the road. He would love to travel around the western states with them during his summer vacation. He loved meeting and talking with people he met along the way.
They also were planning a trip to Disneyland with his Grandparents.
He would spend a week at Cherokee camp where his mother was a teacher.
After camp was over he was planning on helping his mother clean houses so he can save up for a minibike and a telescope.
Tragically, that would never happen.
Here is what we know…..
At around 2:00pm. Chris, his mother Marian and 4 year old brother Eric went hiking on greyrock April 30th 1978. This would have been the first time the family visited greyrock.
About 1/4th of a mile up the trail – Chris was getting anxious to get up to the rocks and according to his mother, Chris told her he would hike ahead and meet them up at greyrock. Which is a formation of boulders approximately ¾ of a mile up the trail from the trailhead.
Chris was wearing a green shirt, green plaid pants, blue tennis shoes, and a maroon jacket and carrying a can of diet Pepsi. Chris was 4’8” and 74lbs
There were several hikers or groups of hikers hiking that day.
- A couple with 2 small children. (never identified)
- A young couple. (never identified)
- A couple with 2 hairy dogs.(never identified
- 2 women Carol and Rebecca that gave statements to police the following day when they saw the news report on Chris being missing.
- A dark complected man with dark hair, a camera, dark blue jacket, wearing a straw type cowboy hat. (he was never identified)
- A man with blond hair and had a camera. He was identified as Allen Shoupan from Loveland Colorado who worked at Hewlett-Packard and along with Carol and Rebecca provided police with statements.
Carol and Rebecca noted several cars in the main parking lot but could only recall 2 of them. A light green car and a white Volvo station wagon.
As Chris was hiking the trail alone he encountered Allen. They sat on some rocks and chatted for a few minutes.
It was getting late and Allen suggested that Chris hike down the trail with him and meet up with his mom and brother. (I’m assuming Chris told Allen who he was with) Chris pointed to a path and asked Allen where it went. Allen told Chris he didn’t know. Chris wanted to explore. He had no intentions of following Allen back down the trail. Chris headed down the path to a drainage (“drainage” is the only description given) Allen said he could hear Chris but no longer was able to see him. A couple minutes had passed and Allen could no longer see or hear Chris. He figured Chris would follow the path back to the trail and either continue up or head back down to his mom. So, Allen continued up the trail.
Along the trial, Allen walked past Carol and Rebecca and didn’t acknowledge either of them.
About 5 minutes behind Allen is when they saw Chris. (So we know Chris found his way out of the drainage) They noticed Chris was carrying a diet Pepsi can. They assumed Allen was his dad. Chris asked the 2 girls “Did you see where the man went?” Carol pointed up the trail. Chris then asked “Are you going up to the rocks?” They answered, “Yes, if we ever make it”
At this point, Allen, Chris, Rebecca and Carol are all heading up the trail in different location not as a group.
Carol and Rebecca said they saw a man sitting on some rocks. He had dark hair, dark complexion, a dark blue jacket wearing a straw type cowboy hat and had a camera hanging around his neck. (This man would never be identified)
Carol and Rebecca hiked up a very short distance from the man with dark hair. The sat on a log and decided to have lunch.
During their lunch they heard 2 voices. They knew one was a boy and they assumed it was Chris. Carol stated that she could not make out the conversation but, she sensed something was wrong. The 2 girls then heard the boy yelling. Carol said she wanted to go investigate because she felt something was not right. But, she felt in fear of her wellbeing. After a couple of minutes of the yelling, they said it seemed Chris was “yelling just for the sake of yelling”
I feel this would be a good time to eliminate Allen as the other voice with Chris. 2 weeks after Chris went missing. Investigators, Allen, Carol and Rebecca went back up to greyrock to reenact what happened that day. What they seen and where they heard the yelling. The investigators along with Allen determined that Allen and Chris were never together in the location the girls heard Chris yelling. However, it was in the area they remember seeing the man with the dark hair and straw hat. (Allen never mentioned the dark haired man. I’m assuming he never made it up as far as the girls or Chris)
A short time had passed and neither of the girls heard anymore yelling.
They finished their lunch and decided to explore a little until they headed back down the trail.
As the girls hiked back down the trail.
In the general area they saw the man with dark hair (who was nowhere to be found) they saw the diet Pepsi can Chris had earlier-laying on the ground. I can honestly say, Chris respected the outdoors, No way in hell would he have ever thrown that can on the trail.
Rebecca picked up the can and put it in her backpack. She said she threw it in the trash when they arrived at the parking lot.
As the girls continued hiking down the trail, they were startled when Allen came down the trail at a fast pace and appeared to be panicked. (I’m assuming he went down to his car – girls said he then had on a light colored jacket and this would have been the time he talked to Chris’s mom and went back up to look for Chris) He asked the girls if they had seen the boy from earlier. They told Allen “No, not since we saw him before” They told Allen “We heard him yelling and another voice and we thought it was you” Allen said “it was not me” Allen tried to talk the girls into going back up and look for the boy. The girls convinced Allen that they still had 90 minutes of day light left and the trails are all clearly marked. Allen headed back down the trail at rather fast pace and the girls followed at an easy pace.
When Carol and Rebecca arrived at their car (No mention of them seeing Chris’s mom or brother. (I am assuming this would have been the time she was calling police) They decided to drive around to see if Chris may have gotten lost (First time for Chris on greyrock) when they circled back around to the main parking lot they noticed the red fire vehicle and headed back to their house in Windsor Colorado.
It was around 5:30pm. Marian had not seen her son Chris in about 3 hours. It was getting late. Cold. It was windy and rain turning into sleet.
A helicopter was dispatched from Fort Collins. After searching for about an hour and found nothing, due to the weather the helicopter was sent back to Fort Collins. The searchers that were on foot said it was getting so dark and due to the fog they could not see their hand in front of their face.
0700 – The following day. Search crews arrived.
170 organized men on foot
30 men on horses
Well-equipped tracking dogs
Unknown number of unorganized searchers mainly from The Long Branch bar in Laporte.
The person in charge said that the temperatures dropped down to 30 degrees overnight. Chris was wet and without shelter he would have died of hypothermia and the dogs would be able to find his body.
A blanket of snow covered the mountain.
As the search went on throughout the day they found nothing. No fresh tracks. Dogs didn’t hit on anything. There was no trace of Chris being on that mountain.
By the end of the day. Organized searchers packed up and would resume in the morning. Many of the unorganized searchers including family stayed longer and continued the 6 mile search area.
The second day they started out searching again at 0700. Again, they found nothing. No trace of Chris.
On the 3rd day of the search. The unorganized searchers from The Long Branch started to create such an uproar as to how officials were conducting the search it was bringing down the moral of the search team.
The parents of Chris went to the newspaper and complained about how the search was going. They wanted the radio stations to ask the public for more volunteers. The sheriff of Larimer County called the stations and told them not to broadcast for any volunteers. I couldn’t understand why the Sheriff would do such a thing until I received the reports. It was quite obvious the organized search team were no longer looking for Chris. They are now focusing on finding clues of who may have abducted Chris.
The search went on for weeks. No clues of any kind were ever recovered. It was as though Chris and his family never went up to greyrock that day.
One question that haunts me. Is why didn’t the mother go meet Chris like she had planned. Why would she let her 9yo son go hiking up a trail on a mountain they have never visited.
Let’s go over some witness statements that claim they saw Chris between July 1978 and September 1978….
In July 1978. A deaf mute boy in Pueblo Colorado said he saw Chris selling Newspapers on a corner. He said if he sold the most papers he would win a trip to Disneyland.
Police were dispatched and information was given to police. However, no report was taken. (Verified thru Pueblo police)
The police contacted the local newspaper and was referred to a recruiter. The recruiter told police that he hires teenagers at least 14yrs old with parental consent. He did not recognize Chris. He told police that his crew goes door to door and sells subscriptions and they do not sell individual newspapers on the corner.
He also said that he did send four kids to Disneyland the previous year.
No other information or reports are available from Pueblo Police.
Don and Cindy Dooley from Des Moines, IA was on vacation in Cheyenne Wyoming. At 116 ½ 8th street. They were approached by a young boy selling newspapers. He said as a reward for selling the most papers he could get to go to Disneyland (same story as in Pueblo) They said the boy was wearing a green tee-shirt (Chris had on a green shirt the day he went missing) and gold colored pants and tennis shoes. His hair was down to about his mid neck. They said he seemed very bright (Chris was a straight A student and on the honor roll) His skin was dark (Hispanic descent) and tan and he appeared very dirty.
About 15 minutes later they spotted Chris sitting down with another young boy.
The couple went for dinner at what they believed was the “Jade Café” stepping up to the door. Cindy stopped dead in her tracks. She grabbed her husband’s arm and said “Oh my god!!! That is the little boy we just seen selling papers” They immediately called police and the father (I believe this is one of the flyers the family produced) Police came out and one of the officers said he remembers seeing Christopher selling newspapers but he didn’t know about a missing boy.
No other follow up has been reported other than Leroy driving to Cheyenne and found nothing.
In July. Leroy asked police if his son’s disappearance could be related to the “Faben” case. The police said no. But. Could Faben be the boy Chris was seen with in Cheyenne? I have searched different data bases and can’t find any information on anyone with the name of Faben or close to it.
Next sighting was on September 7th 1978 about 4pm with Glenn Moudy. A trucker from Hazel, Texas. He said while sitting in his truck at the husky truck stop in Evanston Wyoming (Which has been torn down and replaced by a sports bar)
He said a young boy 9-10 years old 4’8”
(Fits Chris exactly) 60lbs (Chris was 74lbs reported by his mother and could have lost weight due to his current circumstance)
Wearing a pale yellow shirt, a blue denim jacket, denim jeans and white tennis
Shoes. Approached his truck and said he was hungry and if he could have a dollar. Glenn said no (Jerk) and Chris thanked him anyway (Chris’s mom said he was polite) and walked slowly to a green/turquoise car (a green car was spotted at greyrock by Carol they day he went missing) the car slowly drove thru the parking lot as to be looking for other truckers to ask for money. He said the boy appeared to be scared. Glenn went to bed and didn’t see the boy again.
The next morning Glenn headed east on I80 then south on I25 and came upon the Cheyenne port of entry (Weigh Station) He said when he approached the door he seen the missing poster for Chris and reported to the WY. State patrol that he was 100% sure it was Chris. The WY state patrol contacted Fort Collins Colorado. 45 minutes to the south and when Glenn arrived at the Fort Collins port of entry he was met by investigators and gave his statement and again told police he was positive it was Chris. So much so, he told police he was not interested in the $1000 reward put up by the family. No other information available.
The next statement would come from a black guy Claude Ryans in Salt Lake City. He stated in September he saw a boy that fits Chris’s description walking down temple AVE. He said the boy looked confused and dirty.
So we have 4 statements given to police in 3 months. 3 of those reports claim Chris was dirty. 2 claim he was scared or confused. 2 claims of him in separate states selling newspapers for a trip to Disneyland. Same color shirt in Wyoming as he was wearing the day he went missing.
Seen getting into a green car in Wyoming. A green car was at greyrock
Here are a few more case details.
What do you think happened?
- We don’t know why Leroy was not hiking with the family that day.
- Why did Marian, Chris’s mother not go meet her 9yr son up the trail?
- Leroy and family members drove trucks over the road.
- A witness said she seen Chris run across the street about 5:30pm. This would be about the time he was reported missing.
- A unidentified witness said she seen Chris being picked up by a trucker near the parking lot (Chris’s family and dad drove trucks)
- A witness who refused to be identified in July said he seen Chris unloading a semi-trailer.
- I contacted an Eric Vigil on Facebook with the exact same birth year as Chris’s brother Eric. He ignored my first question and when I sent him a link to this blog he responded that he has a brother named Chris but he is in the military. He said I had the wrong Vigils and ended with a “LOL” Then he deleted his Facebook account.
- Several attempts to contact Chris’s mother have failed.
- Was threatened and yelled at on Facebook from 2 of Chris’s cousins. They told me to “Get off my high horse” that I was not “Sherlock – fucking – Holmes. That I should “Mind my fucking business” This was after I told her Chris was my friend and I was trying to help.
When I told her I requested police reports. She said “Go ahead and get the fucking reports. You won’t find shit on us” Wait!! What” “Shit on us” never once did I accuse the family.
Here is what I think happened. Whomever the dark complected man with dark hair was, I believe he abducted Chris. That is when the yelling took place and maybe some sort of struggle and Chris dropped his Pepsi can.
Remember it wasn’t just a casual conversation. Carol sensed something was wrong and she feared for her wellbeing to investigate when Chris was yelling.
There are more questions than answers.
Did Chris know the man with dark hair?
Was it a setup by a family member?
Where was Leroy, the father?
Was he taken by a stranger?
Was he picked-up by a trucker? (The family generated flyer said they believed Chris was picked up.
If it was family related. Why were they selling newspapers in the vicinity?
Someone reported Chris being with family in Washington.
An unnamed source with ties to this case said he had a Sheriff Deputy tell him that “The case was bullshit. Chris was being abused and is up in the bay area’
Abused by who? Leroy the father? Is that why he was not on the hike that day?
Did the mother set this up for him to be picked up? Maybe that is why she let Chris go hike up alone. I don’t know whose idea it was.
Does the mother know where her son is?
In 2012 Marian went to a hospital in Loveland Colorado to give a DNA sample and she brought some of Chris’s hair from his first haircut. The Center for Missing and Exploited Children requested it. Now her DNA is in the national data base.
In 2013 Julie Ferrer from Rapid City SD contacted the National Center for Missing Children and told them she had information on a missing boy from 1978. Julie said she had possible information Christopher’s new identity and whereabouts. Unfortunately those files are blacked out. I know she said his name was Neal Ferguson and she sent them pictures of him. A local FBI agent told local police that had no files on Neal.
This case is baffling and a mystery.
I am actively trying to find out what happened to my friend Chris. I will not give up until I find out what happened.
I am looking to speak to the following people
Allen Shupan (Spelling?)
Don and Cindy Dooley
Eric P. Vigil
If you know any of these people please contact me.
Please don’t hesitate to send me a confidential email if you have or have heard any information on this case.
Thanks and please keep sharing and like the Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/Missingchristophervigil