Athletic director reported missing |

Athletic director reported missing

John Vandelinder

Moffat County High School Athletic Director Rick Penner has been reported missing.

MCHS principal Thom Schnellinger filed a missing person’s report Monday with the Craig Police Department.

Penner has not shown up to work at the high school in a week. The last time Schnellinger spoke with Penner was Aug. 20.

“A report was filed yesterday by the school district,” Cpl. Bryan Gonzales of the Craig Police Department said Tuesday.

Gonzales said there is no timetable for when to declare a person missing.

“If somebody reports somebody missing, it’s pretty much taken that way until deemed otherwise,” he said. “It seems like he may have been in Craig the last time on Wednesday the 20th, and (he) hasn’t been contacted since.”

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Gonzales said the case is an ongoing investigation.

“We are following up on every phone number, or contact number, that we know of and are trying to interview people and get more information on where he could be,” he said. “We are investigating this and following every bit of information we can find.

“We want to make sure he’s OK.”

Penner – who took over the athletic director position July 1 – moved to Craig from Denver after leaving Westminster, where he was an assistant principal at Hidden Lake High School.

He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in physical education, then continued his education at the University of Denver, where he earned a master’s degree in principal preparation and leadership studies.

Penner, 50, has said he accepted the position at MCHS because “the kids at Moffat County have spirit, spunk and a hard work ethic, and that’s the kind of country that I want to tap into.”

Schnellinger said his last conversation with Penner involved the A.D. heading toward Denver to pick up furniture.

“Since then, there have been no cell phone calls, no contact and no communications,” he said. “Because of that, over a period of time by about Sunday afternoon, Monday morning, we became concerned about his health and safety, and I called a missing person’s report in on Monday morning.”

Schnellinger said because Penner is new to the area, combined with the vast amount of open space surrounding Craig, he fears for Penner’s safety.

“It’s worse in the winter, but in the summertime you can fall into a ravine and not be found,” he said. “We know all of the possible stories living in rural areas.”

Attempts to reach Penner’s family Tuesday afternoon were unsuccessful.