Funds sought for search and rescue

Updated: Congressman meets with ambassador in effort to find Littleton officer missing in Russia

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U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman has joined the effort to help find a Littleton police officer who went missing in mid-June while mountain climbing in Russia.

Coffman met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in Washington, D.C., on June 23 to discuss the deployment of specialized mountain search-and-rescue teams and Russian military helicopters in the search for Highlands Ranch resident Steven Beare.

"I received assurances that his government will do everything possible in the search for Steven Beare," Coffman said in a news release.

"My office will continue working closely with the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. embassy in Moscow to resolve this matter and bring Steven home..."

Two days earlier, Coffman wrote a letter to Kislyak, also sent to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, asking that Russia lend any and all aid available to efforts underway to locate Beare. Coffman's 6th Congressional District includes Littleton and Highlands Ranch, among other areas.

Beare, 32, was ascending his first solo climb on Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Russia at 18,510 feet, when a whiteout blizzard hit, according to his wife, Olivia Beare, who last spoke to him when he first arrived in Russia on June 12.

She describes her husband as an adventurer - he has climbed 25 fourteneers in Colorado and Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, among other difficult treks.

"He thinks he is invincible," Olivia said on June 21, watching their 20-month-old son play on the porch of their home. "I hope he is thinking that now so he makes it home." 

Almost a week after Beare, a Colorado National Guardsman, was confirmed missing, Olivia is pleading for help in organizing a search-and-rescue team.

"He was supposed to be back (in Moscow) by June 16," she said. "He had a Monday night flight out of Moscow."

Olivia and Beare were high school sweethearts and they recently moved to Highlands Ranch from Roxborough. She is 11 weeks pregnant with their second child.

Beare served as a U.S. Army scout from 2007-12, during which he looked after others, his wife said.

"The words I always use to describe him are 'extremely loyal' and 'dependable,' " Olivia said.

Beare's trek up Mount Elbrus was supposed to take eight hours. He was reported missing when he did not check in at his tent, in which his sleeping bag, passport and money were left.

A witness who was traversing the mountain and supposedly saw Beare said that he continued to ascend to the top amid a whiteout blizzard, his wife said.

Olivia is now working with professional climber Don Bowie, of Canada, to organize a private search team. Russia's search-and-rescue team isn't as aggressive because of the country's laws and regulations, she said, adding that it stopped searching on June 18. She is hopeful the private search led by Bowie will begin before June 24, the date cloudy weather is supposed to clear. Currently in France, Bowie is waiting for his visa to be processed, she said.

To help pay for a private helicopter  - which costs $2,500 an hour - for Bowie and his team of highly trained and experienced mountain climbers and rescuers, Colorado Police Officers Foundation has created a PayPal account at coloradopolicefoundation.org/search-for-steven

The police officers foundation describes Beare as an avid climber whose goal is to climb the seven highest summits in the world - which include Mount Elbrus.

"Time is of the essence and it is crucial to put the resources in place to start this search quickly," the Colorado Police Officers Foundation's website says. "The effort to get this going is an expensive undertaking."

The Littleton Police Department issued a statement in which it asked people to keep Beare and his family in their thoughts and prayers and to donate to the Colorado Police Officers Foundation.

"When circumstances appear hopeless, you fight through and win, no matter what," Littleton Police Chief Doug Stephens said. "That's what cops do and I am confident that Steven is doing that now."

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