Family of Jerika Binks releases photos showing she was on Timpanogos Cave trail on day she disappeared
AMERICAN FORK CANYON, Utah – There are more answers today in the case of a missing Utah County woman. The family of Jerika Binks released photos, on the Finding Jerika Facebook page, that give a clearer picture of where she was, on the day she disappeared February 18.
The photos came from a wildlife camera, along the trail leading to Timpanogos Cave. The camera was setup by the National Park Service, on the upper cave trail above the gate, which is locked during the winter months.
Investigators say Jerika, 24, somehow got on the trail and was captured on the camera about 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18, the last day she was seen.
“It is interesting information because it does give us something on the day she was last seen and specifically where she was,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon, spokesman for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators have had the photos for several weeks, after the Park Service reviewed images on the camera March 27. But the sheriff’s office decided against releasing the photos, in the event Jerika’s disappearance turns into a criminal case.
Jerika was spotted earlier in the day on surveillance video, jogging past the Utah State Developmental Center in American Fork. But these images are the latest evidence of where Binks was, and suggest that she was indeed out exercising and had not walked away from a residential drug treatment center.
The search and rescue spent considerable time searching this specific area along the cave trail after the photos were discovered, in case she slipped and fell.
“They have used technical efforts, where they have rappelled off of the trail, checking some areas that could be likely where she could have had some problems. But they have done a lot of searching in the area, we are not saying she is not there, but we believe it is unlikely that she is,” Sgt. Cannon added.
There are many dangerous spots, however, if someone goes off of the trail, which does have a history of fatalities. The Park Service says no one should search the trail area, when the cave trail opens to the public in the coming days. Sheriff’s investigators say they aren’t limiting their focus just to this area. Family, friends and volunteers have also searched other areas of the canyon, over the past several weeks.
“Until you know exactly what happened, you don’t close those doors completely, simply because it is theoretically possible they could be anywhere until you know otherwise,” Cannon said.
A $10,000 reward is still being offered for information that helps to solve the case. Contact the Utah County Sheriff’s Office if you have any leads at 801-851-4013.
RELATED LINK: Finding Jerika Facebook page