Human remains found in Kane County believed to be missing St. George woman

May 28, 2024, 1:43 PM | Updated: 10:22 pm

DUCK CREEK VILLAGE, Kane County — Authorities believe human remains that were located in southern Utah are those of a St. George woman who was last seen in November 2023.

The Kane County Sheriff’s Office said deputies received a tip on Monday from an ATV rider who located some clothing on a road in the Duck Creek Ridge area.

Detectives and deputies responded to the area with Kane County search and rescue members, including dogs trained in locating human remains. Crews located additional remains and said evidence at the scene led them to believe the remains are those of 32-year-old Courtney Townsend.

Townsend hadn’t been seen since Nov. 16, 2023, and was reported missing on Dec. 2. The St. George Police Department said Townsend stole her mother’s car, which was located in the forest south of Duck Creek in Kane County on Nov. 19.

Deputies said the car appeared to be stuck on some rocks and had burned. Search efforts were hampered due to snow and a ground search was not possible until earlier this month.

“We had snow on the ground on Cedar Moutain, conditions just weren’t ideal that we could go up and try and search around the area where we found the car,” Lt. Alan Alldredge, with Kane County Sheriff’s Office, said.

He said crews had to wait out the winter condition and made their way back up to the area last month.

“A couple of weeks ago in May, we organized the search, went up there with a good number of our staff and a large number of search and rescue members,” but even with cadaver dogs, the search turned up no signs of Townsend.

Townsend’s family and friends conducted their own search a week later, still nothing.

It wasn’t until Memorial Day when the sheriff’s office had a break in the case. “We received a call from an individual who had been riding their ATV in that same area,” said Alldredge.

That rider found clothing, then called police.

Now crews hope this can help the family find closure and start the healing process.

The remains will be turned over to the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner for identification, and deputies said their investigation is ongoing.

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Human remains found in Kane County believed to be missing St. George woman