Body found at Rafter J

Sgt. Todd Stanyon and another Teton County Sheriff's deputy investigate the scene where a body was found Saturday morning at Tensleep Drive, the south entrance of Rafter J. The intersection was open by 10 a.m. after being closed for nearly three hours. 

Update, 2:04 p.m. Sunday: An autopsy will be performed tonight on the man whose body was found early Saturday at the edge of Tensleep Drive and Highway 89.

Police believe they have identified the man, but haven't been able to notify his family in a foreign country to get confirmation, so have not yet released his name.

See Monday's Jackson Hole Daily for more information.

Update, 5:52 p.m.: Alcohol was likely a factor in the death of a man at the edge of Tensleep Drive early Saturday, Teton County Sheriff’s Officers believe.

They have identified the man whose body was discovered around 6:28 a.m., they said, and he worked in Jackson Hole but had not been a resident for long, Sgt. Todd Stanyon said.

Because of evidence collected from the scene, officers believe there is at least one more witness who may know how the man died, and they are asking for the public’s cooperation with the investigation. Call 733-2331 with any information.

Update, 5:25 p.m.: The man whose body was found this morning at the edge of Rafter J’s Tensleep Drive has been identified by Teton County Sheriff’s Office.

His identity is not yet being released until officers can notify his relatives, a press release from the Sheriff’s Office said this afternoon.

Help from the public is still needed to determine his last hours, Sgt. Todd Stanyon said. Call 733-2331 with information.

“We strongly believe that there is a witness or witnesses that saw the victim just prior to his death,” Stanyon said. “If this was just an unfortunate accident we need to know that.”

The Sheriff’s Office and Teton County Coroner Brent Blue are working to locate and notify relatives of the deceased man. An exact cause of death is pending an autopsy and findings by Blue.

Update, 12:45 p.m.: The death that closed Tensleep Drive earlier today is being investigated as suspicious in nature, though the cause is not yet known.

The Teton County Sheriff's Office released a description of the man, as authorities have been as yet unable to identify him.

The victim is described as a black male, approximately 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds. He was wearing dark clothing.

Anyone who may have seen the victim this morning, or has information leading to his identification can contact the authorities by calling Teton County Dispatch at 733-2331.

Original story: A man's body found early Saturday morning at the south entrance into the Rafter J subdivision closed the road for nearly three hours as police investigated.

A passerby reported a man lying in the roadway at 6:28 a.m., Lt. Tom Combs of the Teton County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies responded to find the individual deceased.

Deputies have been unable to determine cause of death. Police have not identified the man.

“Homicide is still a possibility,” according to Teton County Sheriff Jim Whalen, and the investigation is proceeding as though that could be the case.

As two deputies rolled up police tape and cleared the scene, Sgt. Todd Stanyon used a snow shovel to cover splatters of blood at the edge of Tensleep Drive.

Tensleep Drive reopened shortly before 10 a.m. Highway 89 remained open throughout the incident.

Johanna Love contributed to this story. Contact Emma Breysse at 732-7066 or

Emily Mieure covers criminal justice and emergency news. She also leads the News&Guide’s investigative efforts. She has reported for WDRB TV in Louisville, Ky., WFIE TV in Evansville, Ind., and WEIU TV in Charleston, Ill.

Since moving to Jackson Hole in 1992, Richard has covered everything from local government and criminal justice to sports and features. He currently concentrates on arts and entertainment, heading up the Scene section.

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(2) comments

Thank you for your feedback, Brian. Indeed, the police closure was about a 100-yard stretch of Tensleep Drive from the edge of the highway shoulder down the road and around the first curve.

Brian Remlinger

Based off your photo, I think it is more fair to say "Body found in highway right of way near Rafter J". You've made it sound like this incident took place int he neighborhood.

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