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Hiker finds body near Saltair, officers investigating as homicide

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Posted at 5:56 PM, Feb 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-12 10:33:15-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Unified Police Department has confirmed the body of a man was located near Saltair Thursday, and the woman who found the man spoke to FOX 13 News about the discovery.

Ken Hansen, Unified Police Department, said earlier in the day they believed the death was either a suicide or a homicide, and later Thursday night police confirmed the death is not a case of suicide. Homicide detectives are investigating.

The man's body was located near Saltair in the vicinity of I-80 and 9800 West. FOX 13 News first heard reports of the incident around 5:15 p.m.

Police said the circumstances surrounding the body are suspicious but did not offer further details. A pair out hiking in the area found the body.

"I was walking down the trail, and at first I saw a blue pair of pants, and I'm like, 'That's weird someone would leave their pants here,'" said Shylo Gottling, who found the body. "I walked a few steps closer. I saw a hand, and that's when I got nervous."

Gottling said she found the body lying next to a trail among the sage brush and dirt. The spot is about 100 yards north of a frontage road where she and her friend parked their truck.

"I didn't know what to do, I was so scared," she said. "I was just speechless. I just stood there in shock for a moment processing what it was."

Gottling said it appeared the man had suffered a wound, perhaps from a gunshot, to the cheek area. Police have not yet confirmed any details regarding the cause of death.

"My tears just swelled up, and I ripped out my phone really quick and called 911 really quick, and I had trouble speaking because I was shaking, crying, and I didn't know what to do," she said.

The dead man has not been identified, but authorities said he is from Utah and they are in the process of notifying his family. FOX 13 News will have more information as it becomes available.