Crews locate body of man who went missing at Willard Bay

Posted at 4:38 PM, Aug 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-23 19:47:15-04

WILLARD BAY, Utah -- The Weber County Sheriff’s office spent Friday night and Saturday searching Willard Bay for one of their own, and the body of the missing man was found Saturday.

Brigham Bradley, a corrections officer for the department, went missing while jet skiing on Willard Bay on Friday.

Rescue crews located a body in the area where Bradley went missing, and the body was positively identified as Bradley. Crews said they were about to call off the search Saturday at about 5 p.m. due to severe weather, but just then a boat got a sonar reading that led to finding Bradley.

Lt. Mark Lowther, Weber County Sheriff's Office, said dive teams worked to recover the body.

"We've got divers over there from the Weber County Sheriff's Office; we have recovered deputy Bradley right before we had to cancel our search for the day," he said.

Bradley’s friends and family gathered at the South Marina to watch as rescue crews combed the area Friday. Crews resumed the search Saturday morning, and the man's body was found later that evening.

“He was jet skiing with some friends. They had one jet ski broke down. He decided to stay,” said Bradley’s older brother, Jared. “He decided to stay with the broken down jet ski. They went to get help or whatever, and then they went back and he was not with the jet ski anymore.”

According to officials with Utah State Parks, Bradley had been enjoying the day off on the water with his girlfriend and friends. While out on a ride, Bradley’s jet ski tipped over, sending him and another person into the water. Neither was hurt, and Bradley decided to wait with the jet ski while his two friends returned to shore to pick up rope to tow the watercraft back to the marina. Officials said Bradley was not wearing a life jacket.

Authorities said his friends left him for only ten minutes out on the water, but when they returned, he was nowhere to be found.

“He’s a strong kid. He’s a really strong kid,” Jared Bradley said. “And they weren’t gone that long, so what happened?”

Bradley had been working for the Weber County Sheriff’s Office since September 2001. He is currently working in the medical unit of the Weber County Jail.  For many of the rescue crews responding on Friday, the search for him was difficult.

“Makes it personal since this is one of our employees. Mr. Bradley is well liked and well known in our office,” Chief Deputy Klint Anderson said.

Many coworkers came simply to stand with Bradley’s family and watch as crews searched in the water and in the air for any sign of him. Jared Bradley said the support has been tremendous.

"It's been an amazing outpouring of support, I mean from friends and family and a lot of different directions, you don't really expect it to be so widespread, so we are very, very grateful for that," he said.

Five boats from Box Elder County, Utah State Parks and Weber County combed a 100 yard radius of the area in which Bradley’s jet ski was located. Dive teams attempted to search within the same region, but choppy and murky waters made it difficult.

Jared Bradley said the mystery of what happened in the 10 or so minutes his brother's friends left is one of the hardest things to cope with.

"He's such a young, strong guy," he said. "It's hard to imagine anything... You know, they weren't that far out from the shore, and it's just hard to imagine something happening that quick, and he's gone."