Paul Kitterman update: Missing Broncos fan hitchhiked to go 'someplace warm', say police

Posted at 7:11 AM, Oct 29, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-30 13:52:22-04

A 53-year-old Colorado man who disappeared during last Thursday's Broncos game is back with his family, after being found safe in Pueblo on Tuesday.

Police in Pueblo, Colo., said Paul Kitterman told them he had "his fill of football" and that he wanted to travel to someplace warm, according to KKTV in Colorado Springs.

Kitterman told police he had hitchhiked and walked south, KKTV reported.

Police said Kitterman told them he slept in treed areas and in bushes during his journey.

Kitterman also said he got rid of his Broncos hat because he did not want to be recognized, Pueblo police stated Wednesday.

"He was speaking and answering questions intelligibly that were asked of him," police stated.

But the wayward Broncos fan was clearly worn out after his adventure.

Friends: Kitterman had 'some sort of breakdown'

"First of all, we want to thank everyone for getting Paul’s picture out. It helped us find him.  We also want to thank everyone for their kind words, thoughts and prayers.  We are very grateful to have Paul back.

"Right now we are still unsure what happened to Paul. We know he is very tired.

"We are not certain of what has happened but we know Paul had some sort of breakdown.  We are moving forward and taking all of the appropriate steps to help Paul.

"We ask that everyone give Paul space to get to feeling better. We understand everyone is concerned and that is appreciated."  -- Friend Tia Bakke and stepson Jarod Tonneson statement to ABC News

Earlier, Kitterman's family issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying, "Paul is exhausted and in a fragile state, both physically and mentally."

Here's the family's full statement, released by the Kremmling Police Department:

"Paul's family and friends would like to thank everyone for their rapid and thorough response during a time of great distress. Finding Paul and getting him home is a direct result of cooperative action at its best.

Right now, they report that Paul is exhausted and in a fragile state, both physically and mentally.

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.

They ask for understanding and privacy from the media as well, as they all recover from the stress and fatigue of the recent events.

Again, Paul's family thanks all individuals; organizations; law enforcement agencies; and local, state and national media for their efforts in getting Paul home safely."

The Denver Police Department said Kitterman was found near a Pueblo furniture store along the I-25 service road, near West 31st Street. KRDO reported that a concerned citizen recognized him and contacted police around 6:30 p.m.

When he was found, Kitterman told Pueblo Police he just liked going for walks, according to Capt. Eric Bravo. Pueblo is about 110 miles from Denver.

Police said no foul play was suspected in his five-day disappearance.

A friend of the 53-year-old told 7NEWS that Kitterman was with a group of friends and his stepson in the south stands at Sports Authority Field, on Oct. 23, when he stepped away to the restroom during halftime and never came back.

Kitterman, an unmarried construction worker and ranch hand, did not have his cell phone or any credit cards with him at the game. He only had about $50 cash with him, Bakke told ABC News.

His friends and family filed a missing persons report with the police on Friday and have been searching for him ever since. 

He is now reunited with his family.

Previous story: Colorado man goes missing at Broncos Game