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‘It feels not real’: Family of suspected Utah Lake drowning victims coping with loss

Posted at 9:24 PM, May 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-16 23:25:06-04

UTAH COUNTY — Sunday morning, Ashley Blackburn was handed news she still can’t believe is real. Her husband’s body, alongside his brother's, was recovered in Utah Lake.

The two brothers never returned home after going out on their jet ski late Saturday afternoon near the Knolls area of Utah Lake. Search and rescue crews recovered the two bodies Sunday morning. Deputies believe the men drowned.

The Utah County Sheriff's Office identified the two victims as Jorge Anica, 33, and Victor Manuel Anica, 21. They are both from West Valley City.

It is so difficult to believe, Ashley said. She is married to Jorge and they share two children, the youngest just a few weeks old.

“I didn’t believe it. I just hung up the phone and held my baby,” she said when she got the call that her husband was dead.

Jorge was a loving father, husband, brother and friend, Ashley said.

“He is just a lovable person and always tried to help everybody,” she said.

It was important for Jorge to make time to play with his children, but Ashley said he also made sure he could provide them with a wonderful life.

“He worked all the time to make sure the babies had everything they needed. He didn’t care if he worked until 10 p.m., 11 p.m., it didn’t matter,” she said.

She added that Victor Manuel loved being an uncle.

“Manuel was shy, but he was a sweet person too. Like if you needed anything, you could call him,” she said of her brother-in-law.

The brothers were such happy people, their sister Rosa Anica said.

“Brothers like them, I will never have again. I have others, but they all have their own hearts. I just want everyone to know: Love your family,” she said.

If you want to help the family, they have set up a GoFundMe account.