Police investigating suspicious death near Grantsville Reservoir

Posted at 8:41 PM, May 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-10 00:06:09-04

GRANTSVILLE, Utah -- More than 20 police officers and at least one K9 unit responded to the area of Grantsville Reservoir Saturday night after a dead man was found at a campsite, and witnesses reported seeing a suspicious person leaving the area where that body was found.

FOX 13 News first heard reports of the incident around 5:30 p.m., and a dispatch official with Tooele County questioned about the police presence would initially say only that officers were looking for someone near Grantsville Reservoir, which is in a rural area a few miles from the city of Grantsville.

Just after 9 p.m., Lt. Travis Scharmann of the Tooele County Sheriff's Office said they were called out to the area after a dead man believed to be in his 50s was found at a campsite. He said the death is being considered suspicious.

"Right now, anything's possible," he said regarding a possible explanation. "Right now we look at it as suspicious because we had a witness report seeing someone leaving the area."

Scharmann said the person who spotted the body observed someone leaving the area and a vehicle that was stuck near a campsite that was man made but not a designated campsite. That person thought something seemed strange and went to investigate, which is when they located the dead man.

The individual who was observed leaving the scene is a person of interest, and Scharmann said they aren't calling him a suspect at this point and just want to find him to speak to him about what happened.

"Could be a suspect, right now he's just a person of interest," Scharmann said.

Scharmann said the man was described as being 6-feet 2-inches tall. The man was reportedly wearing dark clothing including a flannel shirt as well as a dark baseball cap. Police were searching for the man for several hours, but later Saturday night they called off their search efforts and as of 9:30 p.m. were in the process of reopening the roads that had been closed in that area.

Scharmann said anytime they have a suspicious person near where a body is found they treat the area as a crime scene, but he said at this time they are still waiting for a medical examiner to determine the cause of death and identity of the dead man. He said they do not believe there is any danger to the public in the area.

Our crew at the scene had observed more than 20 personnel from three different agencies--Utah Highway Patrol, Tooele County Sheriff's Office and Grantsville Police Department--and at least one K9 unit. The K9 and officers appeared to be searching for someone or something in the underbrush in the area of the reservoir and around 8:30 p.m. they brought in lights to assist the investigation.