UPDATE: Authorities contact relatives of missing man believed to be found in field near Utah Lake

Jan 6, 2022, 10:54 AM | Updated: Jan 7, 2022, 6:29 am

UPDATE: Utah County Sheriff’s Office said they have finally been in contact with the relatives of a missing man whose remains may have been found in October.

The remains have not been positively identified but identification discovered with the body belonged to John Everett Booth. Before information was released to the media Thursday, investigators had been trying to contact Booth’s family.

Since the bones and other remains were discovered in October 2021, investigators have been working to find out who they belonged to and so far, the medical examiner had not made a positive identification.

“Thanks to all who reached out with information helping to move this case forward,” Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

Cannon said the process of identification is likely to take several months.

The original story follows below.

OREM, Utah — Detectives with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office say they are working to positively identify a man who was found in a field near Utah Lake last October.

UCSO officials said detectives were dispatched to the field on Oct. 14 after a woman reported finding human remains on a rental property west of Geneva Road between Orem and Provo.

“They figured they were just cattle bones because that happens all the time on farming and ranching operations, and then they came down and that’s when they realized they were actually human remains,” Sgt. Spencer Cannon said.

Before they rolled up on the remains, the family had found something two weeks earlier that made them curious.

“They happened to find a little thing with the IDs and stuff with it,” Karolyn Crookston said. “And I’m like, we need to call and see if he’s got a missing person thing.”

After coming out again, it became obvious.

“I found the skull, and he was face down,” Crookston said.

“Until 2018 this area was covered with phragmites, an invasive perennial grass,” officials said. “That year officials with the state of Utah came and removed the phragmites along the shores of Utah Lake. “Other than a road running along the shore, the phragmites had, until about 2018, been 6′-8′ tall on both sides of that road.”

Investigators confirmed the bones are human and said “clothing remnants also showed significant signs of aging, consistent with having been in that location for many years” — possibly since the late 1990s.

Some of the clothing was ripped and bones were broken and scattered, and UCSO officials said that may be the result of crews removing phragmites in the area in 2018.

“There were some of the bones that were broken, but again, it’s very likely those were broken because of the activity that came through here, particularly the mowing operation that went through,” Cannon said.

The ID card identified the man as John Everett Booth, who would be 75 years old if he was still alive today.

“Investigators checked all known businesses, medical and mental health providers, law enforcement agencies, addresses, Utah Transit Authority, state of Utah and jail booking records for Mr. Booth,” authorities said. “They also contacted families with a similar name but they do not know a John Everett Booth. Through all these efforts they have been unable to find anyone who knew or ever had contact with this man.”

“I hope we can find someone so that they can have closure, and if not, he’s part of our family now,” Crookston said.

Detectives said it’s possible Booth was from or spent time in Iowa, based on his Social Security number.

“While circumstances and evidence at the scene lead investigators to believe the remains are those of John Everett Booth, the (Utah Office of the) Medical Examiner has been unable to positively identify them,” officials said.

If anyone knows John Everett Booth or has information about him, please contact Detective Greg Sherwood at 801-851-4026 or 801-851-4010.

The following items were found at the site:

  • Utah ID card
  • Utah Transit Authority Reduced Fare card
  • Utah Horizon food stamps card
  • Smith’s Fresh Values frequent shopper card
  • “Winner” brand shoe
  • A blue jacket
  • Timex analog watch

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UPDATE: Authorities contact relatives of missing man believed to be found in field near Utah Lake