Micah True: Ultrarunner's Autopsy Could Take Days

PHOTO: Micah True appears in this June 25, 2010 photo provided by Sole Sports Running Zone.PlaySole Sports Running Zone/AP Photo
WATCH Runner Micah True Found Dead in New Mexico

Medical examiners are conducting an autopsy on the body of ultrarunner Micah True, but it could be days before a cause of death is known.

"The body was released to the office of the medical investigator who will conduct an autopsy," Lt. Robert McDonald of the New Mexico State Police told ABCNews.com today.

McDonald said authorities cannot speculate on what may have happened since the autopsy results are not back yet and the investigation is open and ongoing.

"From what everybody was told, they didn't find anything out of the ordinary whatsoever where he was found," McDonald said. "No signs of blunt trauma or anything like that."

True, 58, went missing last week after going on a 12-mile run in southwest New Mexico's Gila National Forest. His body was found on Saturday, "out in the wilderness," according to McDonald, around three miles from where he was last seen.

A group of True's friends had been searching for him Saturday and came across his body around 4:30 p.m. The group turned back to alert search parties, who got to the body around 6 p.m.

McDonald said the wilderness in the area is heavily overgrown, and even seasoned runners like True can run into trouble.

"At the end, it's just a recipe for disaster when you go out there by yourself," he said. "This is one of those things that, unfortunately, has been happening more and more lately."

True was a legend in the distance running community. He was the subject of Christopher McDougall's best-selling book, "Born to Run," which recounted how he took up residence in the remote Copper Canyons of Mexico among the Tarahumara, a desert-dwelling tribe of the best ultrarunners in the world.

After True disappeared March 27, search efforts were launched and then ramped up as the days went on.

True had spent the night at the Wilderness Lodge in Gila Hot Springs and went running Tuesday morning wearing shorts, a T-shirt and hat and carrying one water bottle, according to Jane Bruemmer, the lodge's co-owner.

"He goes for a run every day, so it's not unusual," she told ABCNews.com Saturday. "We just don't think he had much with him, since he was planning on coming home. We're perplexed."

True spent part of the year in Urique, Mexico, where he was the race director of the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon, a 50-mile race across the desert.

Bruemmer said he often stayed at her lodge while en route to and from Mexico. He ran frequently among the cliff dwellings of the Gila National Forest.

Before True disappeared, Bruemmer and her husband had been heading to Silver City, N.M., a town about 40 miles away from the lodge, but True had planned to stay until Wednesday, when he was to depart for Phoenix to visit his girlfriend. So the couple said goodbye to him, leaving a friend to watch the lodge while they were away, Bruemmer said.

But the friend told the Bruemmers that True never returned from his run on Tuesday, and that "the guests were worried," she said. So she and her husband, Dean, called the state police Wednesday morning, and they launched a search in the area, where the temperature can drop below freezing at night.

True had left his dog at the lodge, since he would be running north along Highway 15, which dead-ends at the cliff dwellings, Bruemmer said.

True wasn't known to have any health problems, and Bruemmer suspects he may have become injured. But the search parties "have gone over and over these trails, and on really obscure trails that are barely there anymore," she said.

People have been known to get lost in the Gila National Forest, because it's a wilderness area, "so you can get turned around," she said. "But I wouldn't have thought it would happen to Micah."