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Moab • The helicopters that took over the skies earlier this week were gone Wednesday. So, too, were the hounds that had been tracking through the desert.
After five days of searching for Lance Leeroy Arellano, the man suspected of shooting state park ranger Brody Young outside of Moab last week, officials have significantly scaled back the manhunt.
During another night of freezing temperatures, snow coated the redrock valley Wednesday morning.
Police believe Young's shooter is either dead or will be caught.
"If he's still alive, he will be found," said San Juan Sheriff Mike Lacy, whose agency has been assisting in the search.
Potash Road remained closed Wednesday. Police were searching vehicles, most returning from the Intrepid Potash Plant, for signs of the shooter.
On the other side of the Colorado River, a few Jeeps and campers took advantage of the reopened Kane Creek Road.
About 30 officers will keep watch over the rugged area where Arellano was believed to have been, said Grand County Sheriff Jim Nyland. A scaled-back search effort will continue in the desert "until we're satisfied that he may no longer be down there," the sheriff said.
Most of the officers, accounting for dozens of agencies from three states, were sent home Tuesday.
"We used every resource available that was offered to us," Nyland said as he announced a change of direction in the search effort Tuesday. "We just couldn't locate this individual."
Arellano was charged Tuesday with first-degree felony attempted murder in 7th District Court. An attempt-to-locate bulletin for Arellano was also issued that afternoon.
Police say Arellano opened fire on ranger Brody Young, 34, at the Poison Spider trailhead southwest of Moab on Friday.
Young remained in serious condition at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., on Wednesday afternoon.
Young's friends said the father of three was not the type to initiate confrontation.
"That wouldn't be him at all," said Brian Merrill, of Western River Expeditions, where Young worked as a Colorado River guide for several years before becoming a park ranger. "He is one of those super personable people. Very upbeat. Always a smile on his face. ... Whoever shot him must have had something going on. It probably didn't matter which law enforcement officer walked up to him, it would have been the same result."