Nearly 2 Years After Laramie Man’s Body Found, Death Still A Mystery

A coroner’s report released last week shows that almost two years after a 39-year-old Laramie man went missing and months after his remains were found, how he died remains a mystery.

Jen Kocher

April 02, 20245 min read

Chris Mauk is missing 2023
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Nearly four months after the remains of a missing 39-year-old Laramie man were found, the mystery of what happened to Christopher “Fid” Mauk remains unsolved.

Mauk’s skeletal remains were discovered by a dog walker along the Laramie River Greenbelt Park in November, nearly 16 months after he had been reported missing.

A verdict and case docket by Albany County Coroner Celia King released last week declares Mauk’s cause of death as “unknown” and the manner of death “undetermined.”

The report contains a description of recovered bones and doesn’t indicate any discernable trauma to the remains or any missing or broken bones with the exception of some empty tooth sockets and a missing left femur above the knee, which had been amputated in 2018 following a fireworks accident.

Mauk’s cranium was likewise “complete,” according to the report.

The only property listed was a pair of grey sweatpants that Mauk was wearing when his body was discovered.

King did not return an email and phone calls by Cowboy State Daily for comment or about whether she will consider an inquest into Mauk’s death.

Though not required by law in Wyoming, coroners have the authority to request a public inquest, including when they feel a person has died under mysterious or suspicious circumstances. The process is done by calling three jurors to review evidence and to present their findings.

Regardless of whether there will be an inquest, the Laramie Police Department is still actively investigating Mauk’s disappearance and death. Citing an active investigation, Lt. Ryan Thompson declined to provide any details about Mauk’s case.

Mysterious Disappearance

Mauk’s girlfriend, Nikki Gallegos, reported him missing July 2, 2022.

According to Gallegos, Mauk woke her up the morning he disappeared in the trailer the two shared in Laramie. He had been crying, she told Cowboy State Daily, and said he had secrets to share and wanted to talk as soon as he got out of the shower.

Gallegos, however, said she fell asleep before they had that conversation and never saw or heard from him again.

Mauk did not have a prosthetic leg and relied on crutches to get around after losing his upper leg in the fireworks accident. That day, however, he left without his crutches, and also left behind his wallet, eyeglasses and medications.

Gallegos said she never saw or heard from him again.

Both Mauk and Gallegos struggled with methamphetamine addiction as did those in their inner circle of friends.

Chris Mauk Profile 4 2 24
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Foul Play?

Despite the inconclusive findings in Mauk’s death, many feel an investigation is warranted.

Stacy Koester and Ashley Means, volunteer private investigators with the Gillette-based nonprofit WyoFind, have spoken to many of Mauk’s family members, friends and associates through the course of their nearly yearlong investigation into his disappearance.

Koester said none of the family believe that Mauk would have left on his own accord or taken his own life, and instead believe there was foul play both in his death and disappearance.

As private investigators, their role is limited to feeding law enforcement any information or physical evidence they may gather. Based on what they’ve uncovered so far, however, they feel there’s enough evidence to warrant a continued investigation.

“I 100% believe there is foul play in Fid’s case,” Koester told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday.

Koester, and Mauk’s cousins who asked to remain anonymous out of fear for their safety, believe it was Mauk’s drug connections that likely led to his demise.

Red flags

All see several red flags in the discovery of his body, including where his remains were found just off a heavily trafficked area of the bike path along Laramie River Greenbelt Park.

Koester, for one, believes Mauk’s body was likely moved to that spot shortly before he was found. His crutches were found beside him, his cousins said.

“For no one to notice him there in over a year makes zero sense,” she said.

There’s also the issue of the clothing he was wearing when he was found, Koester said. Mauk was last seen wearing a pair of jeans and Broncos jersey but was discovered wearing only grey sweatpants, which for Koester is a red flag.

There had also been severe rain and flooding along the path during the time he went missing, which would have made difficult to even ride a bike through the water, Koester added.

Mauk was incredibly social and close to his family, his cousins said, and his disappearing in general was out of character for him, even when he was under the influence of drugs.

They also do not believe he died from a drug overdose, and cite a myriad of rumors circulating about Mauk’s death being a murder, which have remained consistent since his disappearance.

Given all the questions, they hope the coroner decides to hold an inquest and that the police investigation continues.

“His family deserves an investigation,” Koester said. “And they deserve the truth about what happened to him.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to say that Mauk's crutches were found beside the body on the bike path, despite his leaving without them when he initially disappeared.

Jen Kocher can be reached at

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Jen Kocher

Features, Investigative Reporter