Body found in American Fork Canyon confirmed as that of Jerika Binks

Posted at 4:05 PM, Apr 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-18 00:24:33-04

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — The body found Sunday night in American Fork Canyon is that of Jerika Binks, who disappeared in February of 2018, the Utah County Sheriff's Office confirmed Wednesday afternoon.

They also said they discovered Binks broke her leg, which could have played a role in her death.

A 70-year old man hiking up an off-trail rocky ravine near the Swinging Bridge picnic site Sunday came upon the remains in terrain that Sergeant Spencer Cannon described as, "very difficult to get up. It's not a trail where people commonly go to go hiking."

On Wednesday afternoon, one of Binks' brothers, Jed Alvey, explained that his sister loved the outdoors, and running.

"As far as her being outgoing and wanting to be in the mountains, I wouldn't expect anything less from her," he said, of Jerika climbing up the ravine.

Alvey couldn't expect anything more from the response her disappearance garnered, and he thanked the community for their love and support over the last year and two months.

"To know that the community, the family, strangers—I mean, we've been..." Alvey said, trailing off with a sigh. "It meant a lot. It really did."

Binks disappeared on February 18, 2018 when she told her roommate at a Utah County treatment center that she was going for a run. Trail cameras picked her up as Binks ran down the Timpanogos Cave Trail.

Ever since then, her family's been searching and wondering what happened to Binks.

"People may think that we kind of had a year to grieve a little bit about it, but that's not the case. It hit my family just like it just happened yesterday," Alvey said. "But it was relieving too, at the same time, to know that we at least get to bring her home."

The Utah County Sheriff's Office found items belonging to Binks along with her remains, including her cell phone-- which detectives are still looking at for more clues in her death.

Sgt. Cannon said they do not suspect foul play. They do know that she would not have had cell service to call for help after breaking her leg. The Sheriff's Office didn't know how long she stayed alive on the mountain.

"There may be some questions that we might not ever get answers to. But we'll do everything we can to get those answers," Sgt. Cannon said.

Considering where the remains were located, Sergeant Cannon said the odds of finding them would have been "almost impossible" had it not been for the hiker.

"We really, really want to thank that gentleman that was on a hike that day," Alvey said. "Thank you for bringing my sister, a daughter, an aunt, a cousin, a granddaughter home to her family, so that we can put her to rest."