Back road memorial for murdered Utah teens continues to grow

Apr 14, 2022, 5:33 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 5:21 pm

EUREKA, Utah – While much of the state was waiting for justice in the murders of Breezy Otteson and Riley Powell, people continued to visit a memorial for the two teens in Juab County.

The memorial keeps growing.

Even in quiet deserts, there are some places where there’s still plenty to listen to.

Just east of Eureka on a back road, there’s a place where wind chimes ring with even the gentlest of breezes, and an American flag clangs against the pole it flies on.

However, the one thing this part of Juab County hasn’t heard yet is justice.

“It’s a sad situation,” said Art Johnson.

Johnson and his friend Wayne Smith had to come and see this memorial Thursday afternoon.

They didn’t know Breezy Otteson and Riley Powell, but they sure know what happened to them.

Johnson and Smith also know about the murder case against the man accused of killing them and throwing their bodies down a nearby mineshaft.

It’s been four years and this memorial continues to grow.

“It’s quite a sight to see all of this. I didn’t know they were doing that,” said Smith.

This memorial is meant to remember the little things Otteson and Powell both loved.

There are stuffed animals, toy cars, and pictures of happier times.

There are also cards celebrating holidays both teenagers have missed.

On a billboard, there are newspaper clippings tracing the case from when they were both missing, to when their bodies were found, and the murder case that has been going on for longer than expected because of the pandemic.

“Some people, really, they should have the capital punishment,” said Johnson. “Others, you hope will learn from their mistakes.”

All that’s missing from this spot is the outcome.

It won’t bring them back but hearing that justice has finally been served will maybe help those who loved them to celebrate their lives, instead of thinking about the person who took their lives away.

“I found out it doesn’t do a bit of good to get mad,” said Johnson. “It only makes you a bad person.”

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Back road memorial for murdered Utah teens continues to grow