Search underway in Garfield County for missing father suffering mental health crisis

Feb 2, 2023, 8:11 PM | Updated: 8:50 pm

GARFIELD COUNTY, Utah — A desperate search is underway right now in Garfield County for a 32-year-old father from Mapleton, who was last heard from almost a week ago.

On January 27th Austin Madsen sent a video to a friend from a snow-covered mountain in Southern Utah – it was the last communication anyone received from him.

“He just wanted to leave Mapleton to get away and clear his head and was heading to Arizona south of Kanab, but something distracted him and took him to Mount Dutton, until he got his truck stuck in the snow,” Aron Madsen, Austin’s father said.

Aron Madsen says Austin is bi-polar, and every few years suffers a mental health crisis. He says during those difficult moments his first reaction is to run away.

“I don’t know if it’s out of embarrassment or the psychosis has him going down a rabbit hole somewhere, but it’s extremely painful and frustrating for the family that loves him because he’s a very loveable and enjoyable person to be around,” he said.

Mapelton City Police were able to ping Austin’s cell phone to Garfield County. A member of the Iron County Search and Rescue team then used topography to pinpoint the location of the video to the Dry Hollow area of Mount Dutton, where rescuers found his vehicle. Over the weekend rescuers were able to locate and follow a trail of footprints that lasted several miles, believed to belong to Madsen.

“We know he can find resources and ways to survive, despite the psychosis he’s probably suffering right now,” Austin’s father said.

Austin is a husband and father to two young boys; Joseph, 2, and Graham who was born in September 2022. Austin’s wife Emily shared this message on her Facebook page:

“Keep praying everyone. Let’s bring my Austin home safe with our family. Thank you all for your love and for being so helpful. God bless you all.”

Austin is described as having an adventurous heart, his family says he has many friends because of his loveable heart.

“We’re sustained by faith and prayers of hundreds of people now because of the impact this man has had on so many lives,” Aron Madsen said.

He worries that Austin’s mania has hijacked his stability and that he’ll hide from rescuers who are trying to bring him to safety.

He says he’s grateful for those rescuers for risking their lives in an effort to bring his son home.

“Words can’t describe gratitude, for risking life and limb,” he said. “For people to risk their own lives, in subzero weather with wind chill, and (use) their resources, how do you repay that, how do you express that gratitude, you can’t.”

Aaron believes Austin has likely left the Mount Dutton area.

He says hot springs are one of his favorite places to visit while suffering a mental health crisis.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

(Mark Less/ KSL TV)...
Alex Cabrero

Utah cattle ranchers losing calves to winter conditions

Many cattle ranchers have lost calves due to the deep snow and cold weather.
1 day ago
Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...
Andrew Adams

Vintage motorcycle stolen, owner asks public for help to find it

A man was asking for help Wednesday to locate his stolen, fully-restored vintage motorcycle.
1 day ago
Exibit shows Utah's air was a concern as far back as the 1880s....
Jed Boal

Exhibit: Concerns about Utah’s air quality go back to Brigham Young

An online exhibit details Utah’s unique air pollution problem going back to the 1880s when Utahns referred to the winter pollution as “smoke evil” or the “smoke nuisance”. 
1 day ago
An empty donation table with the American Red Cross logo. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)...
Katija Stjepovic

Red Cross warns Utahns to be prepared for flooding, spring runoff. Here’s how.

The American Red Cross has a warning for Utahns this spring – prepare for the possibility of flooding in the coming months.
1 day ago
Bags of small pills are lined up....
Mike Anderson

Fentanyl use on the rise in Box Elder County

Police in Box Elder County say fentanyl is hitting their community hard as overdoses and deaths have gone up in recent months.
1 day ago
Driver killed...
Eliza Pace

Four injured in yurt explosion

Four people have been transported to the hospital following a yurt explosion in Deer Valley Wednesday afternoon.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Search underway in Garfield County for missing father suffering mental health crisis