Body Found in Arizona Confirmed to Be Missing New Mexico Man: Police

August 29, 2019 Updated: August 29, 2019

The Farmington Police Department said deputies in Arizona have recovered the body of a missing 44-year-old New Mexico man.

The body of Farmington resident Craig Cavanaugh was identified on Aug. 28 in Coconino County, Arizona, police said in a press release.

Police agencies in Arizona have taken over the death investigation and they have identified two suspects, whose names have not been disclosed.

“Farmington police detectives have been working closely with both Coconino and Navajo County in their search for Craig since he went missing in early July,” the police said. “Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and Navajo County Sheriff’s Office are now taking over this case as a death investigation. There have been two suspects identified in this case, and it is still an active investigation.”

Since Cavanaugh left Farmington on July 4, 2019, and went missing, he had been the subject of an intensive search by family, friends, and a network of volunteers.

Police cited by the Missing Persons Cases Network said Cavanaugh was headed to a job site in Peoria, Arizona, and then vanished. Citing a source close to the investigation, the account said Cavanaugh was at Mazatazal Hotel and Casino in Payson, Arizona, before his phone turned off.

“We were able to trace [Cavanaugh’s] phone to Payson, but we haven’t been able to trace it since,” said Georgette Allen with the Farmington Police Department, according to the Missing Persons Cases Network.

Cavanaugh’s truck was found on July 12 and at one point in the search, police released photos of two men using Cavanaugh’s credit cards in Payson, Glendale, and Peoria between July 5 and July 7, 2019, the press release said.

In a July 25 update, the Facebook page Help Us Find Craig Cavanaugh posted a photo showing two men who allegedly used Cavanaugh’s credit cards.

“The males using the credit cards were identified by Farmington detectives working with Arizona law enforcement agencies,” the release said. “Craig Cavanaugh’s body was located by Navajo County and Coconino County deputies.”

Police released no additional information.

‘Thoughts and Prayers’

The Missing Persons Cases Network expressed condolences following news that Cavanaugh’s body had been found and identified.

“We are deeply saddened to report that Craig Cavanaugh has been found deceased,” the account said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones.”

The page also shared a statement from Cavanaugh’s family: “It is with extreme sadness and heartbreak that we announce to you that Craig Cavanaugh was found deceased. He was a beloved father of two daughters, Micaylah and Gracie, a loving son, devoted fiancé, nephew, cousin, and friend. Since he went missing on July 4th, we prayed everyday for a different ending and we are completely devastated to learn this news.

“We want to thank every person that has followed this case, prayed with and for us, helped search, or simply just reached out to send their thoughts. We know you share in our sadness of this news. Your loyal support and kind words have helped us through this.

“We want to extend our sincerest appreciation to Detective Lauren Jones from the Coconino Sheriffs Department, Detective Kenneth Smith from the Farmington Police Department, all of the other agents, investigators, and law enforcement agencies.”

Anyone with information in the case is being asked to contact Coconino County Sheriff’s Office at 928-774-4523.

Missing Persons, Missing Children Reports Drop to Lowest in Decades

The reports of missing persons, and missing children in particular, decreased in 2018, reaching levels unseen since the beginning of available FBI data.

Nearly 613,000 Americans were reported missing in 2018, more than 424,000 of them under the age of 18. That’s a drop of almost 6 and 9 percent respectively from the year prior and the lowest shown in available records going as far back as 1990.

The numbers had dropped precipitously from the high of more than 980,000 reported missing in 1997 to less than 628,000 in 2013, but then started to pick up again—until the drop in 2018.

It’s not clear what exactly is behind the latest decrease.

Part of the long-term downward trend may have to do with technology, said Robert Lowery, vice president for the missing children division at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Most of the missing children are runaways between 13 and 17, he said in a phone interview. “A lot of these children now have, frankly, cellphones or smartphones. They’re also using social media. … The point being that parents are able to find their children themselves much quicker than they had been, before they have to engage law enforcement.”

Law enforcement techniques to locate missing children have also improved, he said.

But that doesn’t quite explain the sudden drop in 2018. Smartphones and social media have been popular among youth for more than a decade and there seems to be no indication that law enforcement techniques made a sudden advance in 2018.

“It may have been an anomaly,” Lowery said. “We’re going to continue to watch the trend.”

Epoch Times reporter Peter Svab contributed to this report.

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