Human remains found in Garfield County, near search area for man reported missing in January

Austin Madsen. Photo: Emily Eliza Madsen

GARFIELD COUNTY, May 31, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — People searching for shed antlers Monday in an area about 20 miles northeast of Bryce Canyon National Park found human remains, according to the Garfield County Sheriff‘s Office.

The site, near Mount Dutton, is the same general area officials searched for a man reported missing in January after his vehicle was found in the area. The man who went missing in January was hiker Austin Madsen, 32, from Mapleton.

Mapleton police pinged Madsen’s cellphone Sunday, Jan. 29, which led deputies to his vehicle in the Dry Hollow area on Mount Dutton, according to a news release from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

Search and rescue crews from Garfield, Iron, Piute and Sevier counties located and followed a trail of footprints believed to be Madsen’s for several miles on Jan. 30, before suspending the search due to extreme weather conditions. The multi-jurisdiction search resumed Jan. 31 with the assistance of a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter.

“Low temperatures and high winds made visibility for the search incredibly difficult,” the release states. “The rough terrain and deep snow complicated travel throughout the area.”

The search was scaled back on Feb. 3, Deputy Joe Adams, Garfield County Sheriff, told Gephardt Daily on Wednesday.

The human remains found Monday afternoon appeared to be male, judging by facial hair, Adams said.

Officials “were able to collect the remains and have gotten them sent to the office of the medical examiner that same day. They are running it against dental records to try and get an identification either late today or early tomorrow,” Adams said.

The initial dental records are those of Madsen, Adams said, because he is the only person known to be missing in the area, “so that’s the first person we are checking.”

The body was found about five miles from Madsen’s truck.

Adams said intermittent searches for Madsen have been ongoing, with the Rocky Mountain Rescue Dogs brought in to sniff on May 20 and 21.

It’s not yet confirmed that the body is that of Madsen, Adams stressed.

“But we’re hoping to get some closure for the family and to be able to let them know he has been located.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here