LOCAL NEWS

Sandy Community Gathers To Search For Missing Woman

Jul 4, 2021, 6:59 PM | Updated: Jul 5, 2023, 12:25 pm

SANDY, Utah — A major search effort was conducted in Sandy as neighbors and friends gathered to look for a missing woman, 53-year-old Masako Kenley.

“We live in a great community,” said family friend Tracie Benitez, who helped organize search efforts Sunday morning. “We have a great group of people.”

There is, perhaps, no holiday like Independence Day to bring neighbors together. But for one Sandy community in the area of 11172 South Ohenry Road, celebrations were temporarily put on hold.

“We’ve had lots of neighbors that canceled boating plans, fun trips they had planned for the holiday, and we appreciate all the help,” said Adam Clayton, a family friend who also helped organize search efforts.

There was a greater need calling on the neighbors.

“We’ve each been given an assigned area,” said neighbor Matt Hale who volunteered to search.

It has been more than 48 hours since neighbors last heard from their long-time friend Masako Kenley.

“She’s one of our neighbors. She’s beloved by everyone,” said Benitez. “We just, we love her. We’re worried about her and we want to find her.”

Friends said Kenley left her home around 4 p.m. Friday to meet up with friends for dinner in Layton, but she never made it.

“They have not been able to locate her with their phone,” said Clayton. “They’ve tried all of those, as far as we know.”

Family friends said they spent Friday evening driving up and down I-15, in fear that perhaps Kenley suffered a medical emergency or became stranded on the highway, but they found nothing. They said family members called Sandy Police that night.

The next morning, friends made a puzzling discovery — Kenley’s minivan, a white 2010 Honda Odyssey, was located less than a mile from her home.

“They found her van parked down at the Costco, down here in Sandy, and there was nothing in there, no sign of her,” said Clayton.

Clayton said a neighbor recognized the minivan at the parking lot Saturday morning and alerted family members.

Friends and family then tracked down surveillance footage, according to Clayton, which showed the van pulling into the parking lot at 8:18 a.m.

“But they couldn’t see who got out of the car, so we don’t know if it was dumped there or if she parked it there,” said Clayton. “We really don’t know details.”

According to a Facebook post from the Sandy Police Department, Kenley was last seen in the area of 7134 South and 700 East in Midvale around 4 p.m. Friday. 

So neighbors and volunteers gathered Sunday morning to search for her, focusing on the area near Auto Mall drive.

“With Costco kind of as that epicenter,” said Clayton. “We’re kind of going out, up to 9000 South, down to 12300.”

Hundreds of volunteers signed up to post flyers and canvas areas in Sandy and Midvale.

“Then, we were notified that there was a person of interest in the Midvale area, so we’re also going to be canvassing that area,” said Clayton.

“Search everything in that area, try to talk to people, ask them if they’ve seen her picture,” said Hale.

All of their efforts were channeled into finding one of their own.

“She’s been part of our lives for 17 years,” said Hale. “We want to do everything we can to bring her home.”

“This is the best religious service we can give today on this Independence Day, Sabbath Day holiday,” said Hale.

Kenley was described as five feet, two inches tall, weighing 110 pounds. Friends said she recently cut her black hair to shoulder length.

The 53-year-old woman was last seen wearing jeans and a blue floral shirt.

Anyone who finds something while canvassing has been asked to not disturb it and contact police immediately.

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Sandy Community Gathers To Search For Missing Woman