Family Members Holding On To Hope As Search For Missing Saratoga Springs Teens Continues

May 8, 2020, 9:58 PM | Updated: 10:32 pm

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – As the third day of the search for two teenage girls who didn’t return from a trip to Utah Lake ended, family members said they won’t leave any rock unturned and they were moving to a land search.

“There are just no words. We couldn’t absorb anything — it was just too difficult for us,” said Jimmy Hernandez, Sophia’s father.

Priscilla Bienkowski, 18, and Sophia Hernandez, 17, went to the Knolls area of the lake Wednesday, the same day high winds capsized a group of kayakers that had to be rescued.

The two never returned.

“It doesn’t feel real, everything feels like a tunnel vision,” said Stephanie Cowles and Jonathan Guaman, Priscilla’s older brother and sister.

Their parents said the young women stopped to purchase two inflatable ducks at a Wal-Mart in Saratoga Springs, then made their way here to the west side of the lake.

“She had been here a few times earlier this week,” Cowles said.

But the girls never checked back in with their parents, something relatives said was unlike them.

“With the storm coming, I’m sure they would have seen it, heard something about it, looking at the water, they are smart girls. They had common sense,” said Guaman.

After several phone calls, the girls’ family members said a fisherman passed by around 7:30 p.m. and heard their phones ringing next to their belongings and answered the calls.

“The phones were right there on a blanket next to the lake, but the girls were no one was around,” Hernandez said, explaining that the fisherman told them he had been nearby at the lake since 5 p.m. and told them he never saw the girls.

Since then, search and rescue crews have been working tirelessly around the clock.

With calmer winds Friday, they were able to bring in boats with underwater sonar technology and a boat with a remotely operated vehicle to comb the lake floor. Search and rescue crews were focusing on an area 8.5 by 2 miles wide, where the girls’ inflatable ducks were found.

“No news is good news for us, so our hopes are up high that they are out there somewhere still,” Hernandez said.

Investigators said, per protocol, they were searching in and around the water, particularly in the areas where their floatation devices were found.

”People on horseback, people on foot are doing some searching in those areas,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. “There is a possibility, however slim it might be, that they got off the lake either on their own or they got off the lake and somebody did something with them or to them. We don’t have exact information telling us one way or the other.

A vigil was being planned for Saturday evening at 8 p.m. at the Knolls area.

Family members will also be handing out flyers near a Dollar Tree in Saratoga Springs, where they found Sophia’s car. It appears the young women rode together in Priscilla’s car to get to the Lake.

Officials with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said one person spotted them on the lake, but they were asking anyone else who might have seen them to call Central Utah Dispatch at 801-794-3970.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

(Park City Fire District)...
Andrew Adams

Worker rescued after being buried at Summit County construction site

A 25-year-old West Jordan man was rescued Monday after being completely buried at a Summit County construction site.
10 hours ago
Dan Spindle

‘Dust Lake City’ disaster looming as Utah professor fights to save the Great Salt Lake

It's clear how much the Great Salt Lake has shrunk over the years. But there is something in the air that's not so clear. KSL's Dan Spindle reveals the threats newly exposed dust and minerals at the lake pose to millions along the Wasatch Front.
1 day ago
Ashley Moser

Idaho teens travel to Ukraine, gift families new homes amid war

Three Ukrainian families have new homes thanks to a group of Idaho teens who raised $50,000 for the humanitarian trip.
1 day ago
The unfinished housing complex. 800 Block....
Mike Anderson

USU students scramble for housing after apartments drop them from lease

Some students at Utah State University are in a crunch to find housing after hundreds were dumped from their leases at a new apartment complex.
1 day ago
The Jordan Education Foundation has set a grant to help teachers buy school supplies for their clas...
Shelby Lofton

How you can help Utah teachers buy classroom supplies

With the start of school just days away, a lot of teachers are reaching into their own wallets to buy school supplies. A foundation through the Jordan School District hopes to prevent them from having to do that.
1 day ago
Ladd Egan

Workforce Services Economist: Despite recession fears, labor market ‘begging for workers’

Despite the signs of a recession and a shrinking economy, Utah's workforce still needs workers to fill a revolving job market.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Family Members Holding On To Hope As Search For Missing Saratoga Springs Teens Continues