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Abandoned mine where murdered teens were found is capped

Jul 13, 2023, 5:42 PM | Updated: 6:40 pm

EUREKA, Utah —  Thousands of abandoned mines in Utah have been capped in the past few decades as part of an effort by Utah’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining to keep people from going into them and getting hurt.

One of the mines is notable because it’s where the bodies of two teenagers were left in 2018 after they were murdered.

For an area many people consider to be in the middle of nowhere, you can still feel how much love is in a small spot just outside of Eureka.“We want everyone to remember Breezy and Riley. We want people to go and see the area of their last moments of life,” said Amanda Davis, who is Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson’s aunt.

The memorial for Otteson and her boyfriend Riley Powell sits just outside the abandoned Tintic Standard Number Two mine near Eureka.

That mine is where their bodies were found five years ago after they were thrown into it by the man who murdered them.“We still do get-togethers and we do events there to honor them,” Davis said.

When Davis heard the state was going to cap the mine, closing it forever, she said both families were happy.

They noticed a lot of open mines before Otteson’s and Powell’s bodies were found and the families are appreciative they will be capped.“We had visited over 40 mines throughout searching for the kids, so we had seen so many open holes and just the accessibility was just crazy to us,” she said.

Those open mines are why Utah’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining has a program to cap and close them.

Mine near Eureka where murdered teens were found

The abandoned Tintic Standard Number Two mine near Eureka was recently capped. A memorial for Otteson and her boyfriend Riley Powell sits just outside of the mine.(Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining)

“We go by the saying ‘Stay out, stay alive,’” Steve Fluke said. 

Fluke is in charge of the Utah Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program.

It is a program that has been around for 40 years and has closed nearly 7,000 abandoned mines in the state.

However, Fluke estimated there are still about 17,000 more and wants people to stay out of them.

“There are quite a few hazards in abandoned mines,” he said. “The mines themselves can be really unstable. The mines are not natural features, so they were put there with explosives and everything when they were active mines.”

He said some mines still have explosives in them, which is another reason to keep people out.

“Safeguarding these mines ensures that future risks are minimized or eliminated, improving public safety,” Fluke said.

The program closed 56 abandoned mines in the Tintic Mining District near Eureka recently, including Tintic Standard Number Two.

However, the memorial just outside of the mine honoring Otteson and Powell, which is full of stuffed animals, flowers, cares, and other objects, will remain.

“Those kids are loved,” Davis said. “When I’m there, I notice a lot of people coming out to read the note and learn about who they were. We want their memory to stay alive.”

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Abandoned mine where murdered teens were found is capped