Investigators: Other Victims May Be Found Near Joyce Yost’s Body

May 11, 2021, 10:10 PM | Updated: 11:18 pm

SOUTH OGDEN, Utah – A former South Ogden police detective who for years led the investigation into the August 1985 disappearance of Joyce Yost said he believes Douglas Lovell, the man ultimately charged with and convicted of capital murder for killing Yost, might also have played a role in the unsolved disappearance of another Weber County woman.

During plea negotiations in 1993, Lovell promised to take police to the place where he claimed to have killed Yost and left her body. Several weeks of intensive searching at that spot near the Snowbasin ski resort during the summer of 1993 failed to turn up any trace of Yost’s remains.

The view looking down on the Wheeler Creek drainage and the Old Snowbasin Road in Weber County, Utah, on October 17, 2020. Mount Ogden and the Snowbasin ski resort are on the horizon. Douglas Lovell told police in 1993 that he buried Joyce Yost’s body in a grove of trees not far from this spot. (Photo: Dave Cawley, KSL Podcasts)

“In my mind, that’s why he didn’t ever take us to where Joyce was,” former South Ogden police detective Terry Carpenter said in an interview for the second season of KSL’s investigative podcast series COLD. “She is someplace else and honestly to this day, I believe Sheree Warren’s with her.”

Sheree Warren

Sheree Warren was last been seen leaving the headquarters of the Utah State Employees Credit Union in Salt Lake City on Oct. 2, 1985. She’d told a coworker at that time she intended to meet her estranged husband, Charles Warren, at a nearby car dealership.

This building in Salt Lake City housed the offices of the Utah State Employees Credit Union in 1985. Sheree Warren was attending a week-long management training program here when she disappeared on Oct. 2, 1985. (Photo: Dave Cawley, KSL Podcasts)

Charles and Sheree Warren were separated at the time and were splitting custody of their three-year-old son. Sheree Warren was living with her parents in Roy, Utah at the time of her disappearance. Roy police believe she was murdered, but have made no arrests in the case. Sheree Warren’s body has never been located.

Police records obtained by COLD reveal Charles Warren told a detective he’d called Sheree Warren at work that afternoon and told her his plans had changed and he no longer intended to meet her as previously arranged.

When Sheree Warren left work around 6:30 p.m., she reportedly told a coworker she was headed to the dealership to meet her estranged husband, contradicting the information provided by Charles Warren that he’d canceled their planned rendezvous. Sheree Warren did not return to her parents’ home that evening and has not been seen since.

Las Vegas Metro Police in Nevada found Sheree Warren’s car abandoned behind the Aladdin hotel and casino a little over a month later. Police documents show Charles Warren authorized a search of the vehicle, which failed to turn up any definitive evidence as to Sheree Warren’s whereabouts.

Las Vegas Metro Police located Sheree Warren’s 1984 Toyota Corolla abandoned behind the Aladdin hotel in November of 1985, more than a month after Warren disappeared from Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo: KSL TV)

The police records also show investigators initially considered Charles Warren a suspect, in part because he refused to submit to a polygraph examination.

Cary Hartmann

Police suspicion also fell on a man named Cary Hartmann, whom Sheree Warren had been dating prior to her disappearance.

The focus on Hartmann intensified in the spring of 1987 after an anonymous caller phoned Roy police and reported finding a woman’s body near Causey Dam. A witness told police he’d seen Hartmann hunting in the mountains south of Causey the weekend following Sheree Warren’s disappearance. The remains reported by the anonymous caller have never been recovered.

Hartmann has repeatedly denied knowledge of Warren’s fate in various interviews with police conducted over the last three decades. Hartmann was for much of that time serving a prison sentence tied to his convictions for a series rapes committed during 1986.

The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole released Hartmann from custody in 2020. Roy police have confirmed to COLD that both Hartmann and Charles Warren remain persons of interest in their ongoing cold case investigation.

Potential Contacts Between Lovell and Warren

Douglas Lovell is not currently a key figure in the Roy police investigation of Sheree Warren’s case but COLD’s review of records from both the Joyce Yost and Sheree Warren cases has uncovered tangential links between Lovell and Warren.

Doug Lovell’s wife at the time in 1985, Rhonda Buttars, was working for the Utah Department of Social Services when both Joyce Yost and Sheree Warren disappeared. During a court hearing in 1993, she testified that she and Lovell did their banking “up past” Joyce Yost’s apartment on 40th Street in South Ogden.

Sheree Warren worked for the Utah State Employees Credit Union in this building during the summer of 1985. Douglas Lovell was also known to visit this branch during the same time period. (Photo: Dave Cawley, KSL Podcasts)

The Utah State Employees Credit Union in 1985 operated a branch at the corner of Harrison Boulevard and 42nd Street in Ogden, just south of Weber State University. 40th Street becomes 42nd Street as it approaches Harrison Boulevard a short distance east of Yost’s apartment.

Sheree Warren had worked as a teller at that credit union branch in the months prior to her disappearance.

At the same 1993 court hearing at which Rhonda Buttars testified, a man named Tom Peters who Lovell had attempted to hire as a hitman described meeting with Lovell during the summer of 1985 near the same credit union branch where Warren was then working. Peters said Lovell was at that time attempting to cash a workers’ compensation check in order to pay him for the hit. Lovell eventually paid Peters $800, but Peters said he used the money to buy heroin and to gamble. He did not attempt to kill Yost, as Lovell had requested.

Lovell received a death sentence in 1993 after admitting to killing Yost himself to prevent her from testifying against him in a sexual assault case. He spoke to a reporter in the weeks following the sentencing hearing. An Associated Press story published following that interview stated police at the time were interested in questioning Lovell about Sheree Warren. The AP reported Lovell denied having ever met Warren.

“I wish they’d talk to me before they started throwing my name around,” the AP story quoted Lovell as saying.

Lovell declined or ignored multiple requests for an interview for COLD.

William Babbel

Another significant but previously unreported clue potentially linking Lovell and Warren has emerged from COLD’s review of case records. It involves a tip provided to South Ogden police months before prosecutors charged Lovell with Joyce Yost’s murder.

The tip came from an informant named William Babbel, who was in 1991 housed with Lovell at the Utah State Prison’s special services dormitory. Babbel and Lovell were also coworkers at Utah Correctional Industries, in the UCI sign shop. Lovell had enlisted Babbel’s help in drafting documents for an appeal of his conviction in the Joyce Yost sexual assault case.

Babbel would later tell police Lovell had described a surprise encounter he’d had with South Ogden police Sgt. Terry Carpenter months earlier, on May 20, 1991. Carpenter had gone to the prison to confront Lovell with incriminating information he’d recently received from Rhonda Buttars, who’d divorced Lovell a year earlier.

Following that meeting, Babbel claimed, Lovell had returned to the UCI sign shop and said “I thought they were here to question me about Sheree Warren.”

Babbel described Lovell’s alleged Sheree Warren comment in a December 19, 1991 interview with Terry Carpenter, which was audio recorded. COLD obtained a copy of that recording through an open records request.

“I think [Lovell] knows about it,” Babbel said in the recording. “And he says ‘well they’ll never stick me with that because Cary Hartmann is the one that’s gonna end up eating that one.”

Babbel died in 2008. Cary Hartmann declined a request for an interview, referring questions to his attorney. Hartmann’s attorney did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Listen to the Full Episode

Season 2 of the COLD podcast will take you inside the no-body homicide investigation triggered by Yost’s disappearance. Audio tapes never before made public will allow you to hear Yost, in her own voice, describe the events which preceded her death.

You will learn why police suspected one man, Douglas Lovell, yet were unable to arrest him at the time. And you will see how some individuals and institutions gave — and continue to give — Lovell every opportunity to evade the ultimate penalty.

Hear Joyce Yost’s voice for the first time in the COLD podcast season 2, available to listen free on Amazon Music.

Free resources and help with sexual abuse are available 24/7 at  You can also call 800-856-HOPE (4673).

KSL 5 TV Live

COLD Podcast

Cary Hartmann being escorted by authorities in 1987....

Dave Cawley, KSL Podcasts

Suspect in Utah cold case back in prison on unrelated parole violation

A registered sex offender who spent more than 30 years in prison for sexually assaulting multiple women in Ogden during the 1980s is back in custody, after four years on parole.

1 month ago

FILE - Douglass Lovell in a Utah Courtroom....

Dave Cawley, KSL Podcasts

Supreme Court questions ‘injection’ of religion into death penalty trial of Douglas Lovell

Douglas Lovell has submitted an appeal to the Utah Supreme Court over issues related to religious discussion during his trial for the murder of Joyce Yost.

4 months ago

law enforcement gathered around a possible mountain gravesite in brush on a mountain top...

Dan Rascon, Andrew Adams, and Mary Culbertson, KSL TV

No human remains found in possible burial site in 1985 cold case

Wednesday was a day of optimism and hope in a nearly 40-year-old murder mystery case of a woman from Roy, Utah.

10 months ago

law enforcement gathered around a possible mountain gravesite in brush on a mountain top...

Dave Cawley, KSL TV

Police to investigate possible mountain gravesite in 1985 cold case

Police confirmed to KSL5 they plan to excavate a possible gravesite in the mountains near Causey Reservoir on Wednesday in connection with a 1985 cold case.

10 months ago

News paper clippings of  Nancy Perry Baird's murder. (KSLTV)...

Dave Cawley and Keira Fairmont

Blamed on Bundy: COLD podcast challenges popular theory in Nancy Baird cold case

The unsolved 1975 disappearance of Nancy Baird from East Layton, Utah has long been attributed to serial killer Ted Bundy. KSL’S COLD podcast gained exclusive access to case files that point toward other more probable suspects.

1 year ago

FILE: Chuck and Judy Cox. (Pat Reavy/KSL)...

Josh Ellis and Dave Cawley

Appeals court reinstates $98M verdict awarded to Susan Cox Powell’s parents

The $98.5 million verdict a jury awarded to the parents of Susan Cox Powell in 2020 has been reinstated by a Washington appeals court.

1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Investigators: Other Victims May Be Found Near Joyce Yost’s Body