Teen Who Found Belongings Of Missing Girls On Utah Lake Speaks Out
May 10, 2020, 10:19 PM | Updated: Sep 5, 2022, 11:42 pm
SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah — The search for two missing girls on Utah Lake entered day five as search and rescue teams transitioned to a recovery phase. A 16-year-old who found the girls’ cellphones and helped alert authorities talked to KSL about what he saw the night they went missing.
Mikey Hernandez said it was really windy the night he found the girls’ personal belongings on the shore of Utah Lake.
He was out camping and fishing with a friend when he discovered a blanket, clothes, shoes, and both of the girls’ cell phones.
“It’s crazy because it doesn’t even feel like five days,” Mikey said. “This whole situation doesn’t make sense, it’s confusing. How would you just vanish like that?”
The wind started to pick up around 7:30 p.m.
Most everyone else had gone home, except for 17-year-old Sophia Hernandez and 18-year-old Priscilla Bienkowski.
Mikey spotted their belongings just a little ways away from his tent.
“We thought that they left their stuff, and so that’s why we went over to look at it, and that’s when the phone started ringing and that’s when I picked it up,” he said.
Priscilla’s mom was on the other end of the line.
She asked for her daughter, but Mikey told her he hadn’t seen either of the girls anywhere.
“That’s when she was all nervous like, ‘what do you mean?'” Mikey said. “She was all scared and stuff.”
Within about 30 minutes, the boys said both families were on scene.
Search and rescue crews weren’t far behind.
“There were helicopters. There were search crews. There were jet skiers,” he said.
They searched through the night for Priscilla and Sophia, but with no luck.
Officials said Sunday that it’s now most likely a recovery mission.
“If they are in the water, then it is a recovery,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. “There’s no way that if they were in the water, they could have survived.”
Devastating news for both the girls’ families, all who knew them, and even those who didn’t.
“That whole situation is sad — that they’re not going home to their families, or their mom, or be able to hug their family at all,” said Mikey. “It’s just sad.”
Search crews were out on the lake for most of the day Sunday with sonar equipment and cadaver dogs.
They said they will now scale back the search from the water and focus their efforts over the next few days from the air.