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Police Identify Brothers Missing From Strawberry Reservoir, Search Stretches Through Second Day

STRAWBERRY RESERVOIR, Utah – The search for two missing brothers at Strawberry Reservoir has gone on for more than 24 hours.

Police have identified the two men as 70-year-old James Gardiner from Salem, and Mark Gardiner from Pleasant Grove.


They were reported missing after someone noticed their abandoned boat near the shore with the motor still running around 2:30 Thursday afternoon. Since then, searchers have found a hat and a pair of shoes, but no other sign of the men.

When searchers reached the boat, they found a fish on one of the lines and a net missing. They believe the men may have fallen overboard while trying to net the fish, but at this point, it is just a theory.

The search area is about a mile long and the water is 90 feet deep or more in some spots. Searchers have used sonar to get an idea of what could be under the water and are using a remotely-operated vehicle to get a closer look at items of interest.

“We’re making some progress. We’ve found some targets that have been identified and at present right now, we’re verifying those. Lots of times, we end up finding, no, that’s not exactly what we’re looking for, but a lot of times it’s promising, so we’re encouraged by that,” said Wasatch County Sheriff Jared Rigby.

The brothers’ families were at the command post Friday.

“They’ve been out on the water both seeing the work that we’re doing and it helps them cope and work through,” Rigby said.

As searchers prepare for another night, the sheriff said it was important for everyone involved to stay positive.

“It’s so important for us at the sheriff’s office and for search and rescue teams across the state to stay hopeful,” Rigby said. “We’re hoping for miracles. We’re hoping for positive outcomes,”

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