Emery County authorities and a volunteer search team on Saturday may have located the body of 25-year-old Matthew Alan Larsen, who has been missing since December.
An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death and to make a positive identification. Sheriff Greg Funk, however, told The Salt Lake Tribune the body is believed to be that of Larsen.
The body was found in the rugged foothills above Orangeville about 10 a.m., the Emery County Sheriff’s Office said in a new release. A Utah Highway Patrol helicopter later lifted it out of the area for transport to the state medical examiner’s office.
“We do believe that’s who it is, but until the medical examiner makes a positive I.D., we can’t be certain,” Funk said.
Funk said there are “reasons” to draw that conclusion, but he declined to elaborate. Funk said there were no signs of foul play.
A January story in the Emery County Progress said Larsen, of Castle Dale, was last seen in the area Orangeville area on Dec. 15. Cellphone records indicated he was last somewhere west of Orangeville, the newspaper reported.
On Saturday a volunteer crew of searchers from a church helped authorities renew their search for Larsen. The Sheriff’s Office conducted numerous searches for Larsen throughout the winter but were often hampered by the steep, rough terrain and weather conditions.
Funk said a search team was also in the area last week but didn’t locate the body.
“It’s very rough terrain, and unless you were right on top it, you wouldn’t have seen him,” he said.
It was not immediately clear on Saturday how quickly the medical examiner’s office would issue its findings.