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Continued: Deputy: Father's final act likely saved daughter from Colo. rock slide that killed 5 in family

  • Article by: P. SOLOMON BANDA , Associated Press
  • Last update: October 2, 2013 - 7:28 AM

"I started digging her out until I had more help come and we got her all the way out," he said.

The rock slide was too unstable for crews to retrieve the bodies Monday, so they waited till Tuesday, authorities said.

A candlelight vigil was being held Tuesday night at Buena Vista High School's football field. A memorial service for the Johnsons was set for Saturday at the high school gym, to be followed by a community meal; separate services were being organized for the nephews in Missouri. Buena Vista's Cornerstone Church also set up a fund for the family.

The U.S. Forest Service maintains the busy Agnes Vaille falls trail near St. Elmo ghost town. Spezze said officials have asked the Forest Service to close it permanently.

The trail is one of the first hikes recommended to people new to the area and is popular with tourists, said Margaret Dean, a regular hiker who has walked the trail with her 7-year-old grandson.

Dean, a copy assistant at The Mountain Mail newspaper in Salida, said the trail provides a view of the falls and the Chalk Creek Valley in the towering Collegiate Peaks.

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