SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, Oct. 6, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The Unified Police Department has confirmed that human bones found Thursday near Dog Lake were located in the same area where missing man Blake Richardson was last seen.
UPD Lt. Brian Lohrke stressed, however, that the identity of the deceased must be determined by the Medical Examiner’s Office before any conclusions can be drawn.
Richardson, 24, had been listed as a walk away from Salt Lake Behavioral Health. On Dec. 9, 2016, he was located by his father and returned to SLBH, then attended a hearing to determine whether he needed to be committed to the facility.
He was not committed, and was released to his family. Later that day, he reportedly left with his dog to go for a walk.
On Dec. 10, hikers in Millcreek Canyon reported seeing someone believed to be Richardson, with a dog, wandering and asking for food. UPD Canyon Rescue attempted to locate the man, but could not find him.
On Dec. 16, Richardson’s dog was found alone in the Evergreen picnic area of Millcreek Canyon, and was taken to an animal shelter. Richardson’s father found the dog at the shelter through an online search, and contacted the Unified Police Department so the search could be resumed.
Attempts to find Richardson were, again, unsuccessful.
Lohrke said on Thursday that there is no proof the body is Richardson’s. No identification was found, and a clothing match could not be confirmed. The only thing connecting Richardson to the area is that it was the last area where he was believed to be seen, and his dog was recovered from the canyon.
Richardson’s family has been notified, Lohrke said, and everyone will have to wait for the results of the Medical Examiner’s investigation for final confirmation.
The remains were found Thursday by hikers walking a trail with their dog. When the dog went 50 to 100 yards into the brush, toward Dog Lake, and did not return, the hikers went looking for it. They came across the bones shortly before sunset.
On Friday morning, Salt Lake County Search and Rescue workers located the reported bones. Evidence also was collected.
Identification of the skeletal remains will be the first priority, Lohrke said. After that, determining manner and approximate date of death will be the next priorities, he said.