Family members looking for a 64-year-old woman who was reportedly abandoned while camping last week in rural Juab County discovered a woman’s body while searching near the Silver City-area on Saturday.
Undersheriff Brent Pulver said it’s too early to confirm if the body found is Jan Pearson-Jenkins, but circumstances indicate it likely is her. Pearson-Jenkins' family believes it is her, according to a post on her brother Jace Pearson’s Facebook page.
The man she was camping with, 42-year-old Cody Young, was taken into custody Saturday at Yuba State Park, about 26 miles south of Nephi. He was later booked into jail on suspicion of murder. Police had been searching for him since Pearson-Jenkins was abandoned.
Pulver said one of Pearson-Jenkins family member’s found the body about 11:45 a.m. near the two’s campsite. He wouldn’t comment on the condition of the body or speculate on how the person died, except for saying it wasn’t found in one of the numerous open mines in the area. Two teenagers — Riley Powell and Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson — were killed and their bodies hidden in a mine shaft in that area in late December 2017.
Pearson wrote on Facebook, “Not quite the results we had hoped for, but at least we have knowledge and ‘closure’ of what Jan experienced in her final hours.” He didn’t elaborate on what he believed caused the woman’s death. A call and text message from The Salt Lake Tribune were not returned.
Pearson-Jenkins was last seen Oct. 4, when she left Sandy to go camping with Young near Eureka. Police said Young messaged family members the next day saying he’d gotten into an argument with Pearson-Jenkins and had left her in the wilderness.
She didn’t have her cellphone and wasn’t dressed for cold weather.
Pearson said one of his longtime friends found the body about a mile to the east of where Young told family he’d left Pearson-Jenkins and within a mile of the pair’s campsite.
“Our family was literally surrounded and consoled by friends at the scene the moment we learned of the sad news,” Pearson wrote.