Father speaks after bodies of missing Vernal men recovered from Green River

Posted at 9:49 PM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-22 08:59:02-04

JENSEN, Utah - Bobby Spoon teeters between relief and anger in the hours after his son and his son's two friends were pulled out of a river outside of Vernal.

"I feel a kind of rage," Spoon said. "It's towards incompetence."

Spoon's son, 33 year-old Robert Spoon Junior, and two friends, 33-year-old Jason Tilt and 29 year-old Jacob Tilt, left Spoon Senior's house last month around 8:30 p.m. in a black 2004 Chevy Silverado, and were never seen again.

"We started searching, and I just had a feeling they were in the river," Spoon Sr. said.

Just days after the three men went missing, Spoon said he found evidence the truck had gone off the road and into the water.

"I found a headlight; I found the inside interior, and I found one of the Tilt boy's shoes," Spoon said.

He also said he found evidence of skid marks along with broken bushes and tree branches next to the river.

Shortly after finding the evidence, the Uinta County Sheriff's Office launched a search boat to patrol the river with a magnet hanging off the side in tow, hoping to catch any metal surface underneath the water.

"I don't know how they missed it," Spoon said.

He said the truck was later found at the exact spot he told deputies to search. Despite the disappointing initial results, Spoon and family and friends did not give up.

"I got my own sonar detector, that cost me about $1,280; and a canoe for body searching cost $1,500," Spoon said.

Spoon said once he was positive he had located the truck, he reached out to deputies again, and spent the next couple weeks monitoring the location to make sure the current of the river didn't move the truck.

After more delays and waiting for search teams to arrive, Spoon said he made plans to acquire a crane to pull the truck from the water himself. He said that's when the Sheriff's Department stepped in and did their own operation.

"If I hadn't hired my own crane, they wouldn't have stepped in like they did," speculated Spoon.

The Sheriff's Office said they understand Spoon's frustration, but also pointed out that they were getting leads from other people who told investigators the three men were spotted in other cities, which pulled attention and resources from focusing on just one particular spot.

A grateful Spoon said Wednesday he couldn't thank friends and family enough for their help and time and energy to bring the three men home.

"I want my son, and I want my son in the dirt, not the water," he said.