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Sheriff’s officials searching for couple who went missing while camping in Wasatch County

Posted at 9:13 AM, Nov 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-17 11:13:47-05

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah — Search and rescue teams are working to locate a woman and her boyfriend after police say they never came home from camping near Strawberry reservoir.

According to the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office, the father of a 26-year-old Salt Lake County woman called authorities Thursday night and said his daughter had gone camping on Nov. 11 near Strawberry Reservoir with her boyfriend and her dog.

The father told the sheriff’s office that his daughter and the 24-year-old Minnesota man she was with, were supposed to return on Nov. 13, but they never did.

Friday morning Wasatch County deputies found the woman’s vehicle in a parking lot near the reservoir at Chicken Creek. WCSO said all of the couple’s camping gear was still in the car, but a canoe was missing.

“We had a helicopter crew that came out here this morning [Friday], flew the reservoir,” said Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jared Rigby.

The helicopter spotted that canoe on an island in the reservoir Friday morning. Several hours later crews found the woman’s dog.

“The dog had a life jacket on and they found the dog alive,” Rigby said.

The sheriff’s office estimates the water is somewhere between 30 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, “there’s a number of different factors and hypothermia is one of them. This dog made it and there’s hope,” said Rigby.

By the time search and rescue crews wrapped up operations Friday evening, the couple had still not been located.

“We’re looking in the water at this point, we’ve been over the shore twice,” said Rigby.

The sheriff’s office said a team from Summit County put a rover device in the water Friday that can detect objects along the reservoir floor, they will continue to run the rover throughout the night.

First thing Saturday morning, Wasatch County Search and Rescue crews will continue their search, alongside a state dive team who will operate a sonar boat.

Given the miles long size of Strawberry Reservoir, searching the water could be a lengthy process.

“We always hold out hope,” Rigby said. “At the same time we understand there’s some realities and some likelihoods that we’re working through.”

WCSO said the woman’s family has been at the reservoir since Friday morning, they are expecting the man’s family to fly in from Minnesota Saturday morning.

“We’re really hoping to bring some finality and closure of this for the families as soon as possible,” said Rigby.