Case of 2 missing men now a homicide investigation; man arrested in connection with disappearance

Mar 10, 2024, 2:58 PM | Updated: 10:24 pm

BLANDING — A man was arrested in connection with the disappearance of two men in San Juan County that investigators have now deemed a homicide investigation.

The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office arrested Charles Yoo, 35, on Friday following a search warrant at the residence he had been living at with the two men who had been reported missing. Yoo was arrested on suspicion of obstruction of justice after the search was conducted, according to a police booking affidavit.

Christopher “Topher” Owens, 28, and William “Drew” Bull, 29, were considered missing by the sheriff’s office on March 1, four days after they were last seen. Three days prior, a mutual friend of Owens and Bull called the sheriff’s office “and reported he was concerned about one of his friends.”

Jeff LeBlanc, who knew both men but was especially close with Owens, said they were down in Blanding working on a vehicle project. He said Owens bounced between Colorado Springs and Blanding. Bull’s family told KSL he moved between Moab and Blanding depending on work.

“Never do I get the sense that he was worried for his well-being or anything like that,” he said.

Family pleads for answers after two men mysteriously disappear near Blanding

Communication comes to an end

All communication from Owens and Bull had dropped off on Feb. 25, furthering concerns for family and friends.

LeBlanc said their radio-silence indicated something was wrong.

“He always posting something, some piece of his life on social media. And for him just to go dark like that, I mean, it’s not, it wasn’t normal,” he said.

Shortly after the friend spoke with Yoo, a text message was received by Bull’s significant other on Feb. 27 that appeared “suspicious,” the affidavit states.

The text said, “it’s always something with everyone, I can’t deal with this,” and goes on to say, “tell toph I’m sorry if he’s alive.”

The text appeared to be sent by someone other than Bull. It mentioned the possibility of Owens no longer being alive, according to the probable cause statement. The friend grew even more concerned after Yoo, who has a large collection of guns, told him that one of them was missing.

During the investigation, police say they learned that Owens and Bull had been seen at the Maverik in Blanding on Feb. 25 at about 11:30 a.m. and obtained video footage confirming the two had made it safely back from Moab. Yoo told investigators he had seen Owens and Bull on Feb. 26 near mid-morning leaving the home in a black Dodge.

No additional information on black Dodge

Yoo did not provide any additional information regarding the black Dodge to investigators “that would have been apparent to someone with basic knowledge of a vehicle” despite Yoo being a vehicle mechanic, according to the affidavit.

He also told investigators that Owens and Bull would have access to the missing firearm since it was left sitting out. He thought the two had gone “shooting the past couple of days,” according to the police booking affidavit.

“Due to evidence collected at the residence, interviews with Yoo, investigative techniques and the lack of proof of life from William Bull and Christopher Owens, the investigation is now being termed a homicide investigation,” wrote the San Juan Sheriff’s Office in a Facebook post.

KSL asked San Juan County Sheriff Lehi Lacey if Yoo is being investigated in this homicide case.

In an email he wrote, “The investigation is ongoing and Mr. Yoo will continue to be held without bail on obstruction of justice charges.”

LeBlanc said he and other family and friends of these men want the truth of what happened to them.

“Whatever has happened just needs to be confessed, needs to be told to us so that everybody here can get on with our grieving process and we can do what we need to do,” he said.

LeBlanc said he’s not surprised officials said there’s no proof his friend is alive.

I’ve been kind of preparing myself. But I’ve had my suspicions and my speculations over the last however many days it’s been,” he said. “You could only go along without having food or water or warmth or whatever, something was going on.”

Friend wants answers

He wants to know why someone would harm Owens and Bull.

“It’s unreal,” LeBlanc said. “Toph was the type of guy that would give you the last cigarette out of his the cigarette pack. He would give you the shirt off his back. He would give you the last…bite of this food if you were in need. This kid was…just super, super duper caring and loving and I mean, he would do anything for anybody. I don’t think people really understand, this kid’s got an army behind him.”

He’s holding out hope, and said he and friends are considering a search for Bull and Owens on their own

“I’m very angry with this whole situation,” he said. “He didn’t deserve this. If it’s true he isn’t alive, he really didn’t deserve it.”

Anyone with information should call the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office at 435-587-2237.

KSL 5 TV Live


A yellow plastic police line, blocking off a scene, and showing a blurred police car in the backgro...

Pat Reavy,

Cause of Parowan teacher’s death ‘undetermined’

A recently completed report by the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office could not come up with a conclusive manner of death for a Parowan teacher who died in December.

7 hours ago

Winnie Quilter's dad's 1982 BMW 320I that was set a blaze during Tuesday morning fires....

Garna Mejia

Four fires near downtown Salt Lake City prompts an arson investigation

Fire investigators are looking for someone suspected of starting several fires in the downtown area early Tuesday morning.

1 day ago

The second episode of The Letter's second season, "Ripple Effect," details the second man killed in...

Amy Donaldson, KSL Podcasts

Sense of dread precedes second 1982 Millcreek Canyon murder

The second episode of The Letter's second season, "Ripple Effect," details the second man killed in a double murder outside a Millcreek Canyon restaurant in 1982.

1 day ago

A man previously convicted on a graffiti charge was arrested Sunday and accused of causing more tha...

Pat Reavy,

Man arrested, accused of spray-painting furniture set to be moved into store

A man was arrested Sunday after police say he spray-painted graffiti on furniture waiting to be moved into a downtown store, causing more than $34,000 in damage.

2 days ago

Monday marked 50 years since the Ogden Hi-Fi murders, and one of the people who first responded to ...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Remembering one of Utah’s most heinous murder cases, 50 years later

Monday marked 50 years since the Ogden Hi-Fi murders, and one of the people who first responded to the scene all those years ago is looking back on what became a career-defining case, both because of the heinous situation and because of the lessons he learned investigating it.

2 days ago

WASHINGTON - APRIL 14:  Activists line Wisconsin Avenue during a vigil outside the residence of Vic...

Matthew Barakat, Associated Press

Jury deliberating in Iraq Abu Ghraib prison abuse civil case; contractor casts blame on Army

A lawyer for a military contractor being sued by three survivors of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq says the plaintiffs are suing the wrong people.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Case of 2 missing men now a homicide investigation; man arrested in connection with disappearance