Former Fossil Ridge wrestler, a 2013 state champ, found dead in Colorado

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 02, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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A 2013 state championship wrestler from Fossil Ridge High School was found dead Wednesday near Gunnison, Colo., where he was attending college, according to media reports.

Dammion Heard, 20, of Fort Worth was found on Bureau of Land Management property about 8 miles east of Gunnison, the Montrose Daily Press reported. His car, a black 2004 Saturn Vue, was found nearby, the newspaper reported.

Heard was last seen Saturday near Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, where he was a student and collegiate wrestler. The city is about 200 miles southwest of Denver.

Police could not be reached for information Tuesday evening. However, KUSA/Channel 9 TV in Denver reported that “an investigation into his death is ongoing” and that “no suspects are being pursued at this time.”

Fossil Ridge wrestling coach Tony Lopez said athletes and faculty at the Keller district school who knew Heard were grieving.

Heard was defeated at the state championship tournaments as a sophomore and junior but returned to clinch the 113-pound weight-class title his senior year, Lopez said.

Lopez said Heard was team captain his junior and senior years. He had been a wrestler since he was young, and his father, Gary Heard, coached him along the way, Lopez said.

“He comes from a very nice family,” Lopez said, “and they were very supportive of Dammion and his wrestling.”

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, university interim President Brad Baca said: “Dammion was a vibrant and beloved member of the campus community, a great student and an accomplished athlete. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Police have “assured the university that the circumstances surrounding Dammion’s death do not pose a danger to the campus community,” Baca said.

University officials declined to give more details.

Lopez said counselors would be available today for Fossil Ridge students.

“I’ve been trying to determine what could have happened,” Lopez said. “He’s smart, calm-headed. … He liked the outdoors. I just can’t imagine what the situation was.”

Lopez said Texas doesn’t have the notoriety in the wrestling community like Oklahoma and Iowa. So it was a great accomplishment for Heard to reach the collegiate level.

“He just kept plugging away and coming back and eventually won state his senior year,” Lopez said. “He understood wrestling. He had his goals set and he knew what he had to do.

“He was just a great kid.”

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST

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