DENVER (AP) — A man who disappeared during last week's Denver Broncos game, touching off an extensive search by family and friends, told police he had "his fill of football" when he walked and hitchhiked about 130 miles to a city in southern Colorado.
Paul Kitterman, 53, was found safe Tuesday night in a parking lot in Pueblo after police got a tip that he was in the city. The construction worker looked tired and had trouble walking, but a medical exam found him to be otherwise unharmed, Pueblo police Sgt. Franklyn Ortega said.
Kitterman told police that he had not watched television in several days and was not aware that people were looking for him.
"He said he had his fill of football and that he likes to walk and wander, and he was looking for a warmer place," Ortega said.
Officers who found Kitterman said he was lucid and coherent, telling them he slept in bushes and treed areas.
The tip on Kitterman's whereabouts came from a friend's ex-wife, who reported picking him up at the Salvation Army in Pueblo and dropping him off at a hotel, Ortega said. The sergeant didn't have other details about his connection to the woman.
He said it appeared no crime had been committed.
"He's a grown man. If that's what he wants to do, he can do it," Ortega said, adding that authorities put Kitterman up in a hotel until his family could pick him up.
Family and friends had been searching for Kitterman since he was last seen leaving his seat to meet friends at halftime of Thursday night's game against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field.
They filed a missing persons report with Denver police, scoured the sprawling stadium, called hospitals and detox centers, and taped fliers around the city. Police had previously said they did not suspect foul play, and Kitterman's stepson noted that his stepfather did not have any known health or personal problems
The stepson, Jarod Tonneson, did not respond to a message left by The Associated Press.
Relatives in a news release thanked authorities and friends for helping find Kitterman and get him home. They asked for privacy.
"Paul is exhausted and in a fragile state, both physically and mentally," the statement said. "At this time, even family and friends do not have the whole story. They are respecting Paul's wishes for personal space and time to process the events of the past five days."
Kitterman and Tonneson went to the game with two of their friends after a day spent working and hunting at another friend's ranch in Kremmling, a small town in the mountains of northern Colorado.
Kitterman and Tonneson hurriedly made the 100-mile trip to the stadium after a friend offered tickets. It was Kitterman's first time there, and in his haste, he forgot his cellphone and took no credit cards and very little cash, Tonneson said.
Kitterman had four or five beers in the course of a four-hour span — not enough to become disoriented, his stepson said.