NTSB Identification: DEN02FA050.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 06, 2002 in Briggsdale, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/06/2002
Aircraft: Beech M35, registration: N9775R
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was an insurance agent and minister who had recently been arrested and indicted by the State of Colorado for felony theft with respect to his insurance practice. The pilot was released from custody after posting bail on May 3, 2002., and was scheduled to appear in court on June 26, 2002. On the day of the accident, the pilot sent several electronic mail messages to several members of his church congregation informing them that he was resigning as their minister and asking them for forgiveness for the "shame and reproach" he had brought on the church. The pilot's wife reported her husband missing the next afternoon, and the wreckage was located about four hours later. According to recorded radar data, a target was detected departing the airport area and proceeding towards a popular tourist attraction to the northeast. The target circled the area, then turned back towards the airport before disappearing. On-scene investigation disclosed no evidence of preimpact airframe, engine, propeller, or flight control failure/malfunction. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. All aircraft maintenance was current and up to date. The pathologist said "the manner of death is suicide," and the county coroner ruled the death as a suicide.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

controlled descent into terrain for reasons undetermined.

Full narrative available

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