The Utah County Sheriff’s Office said the human remains were discovered in the American Fork Canyon on April 14 and may be those of 24-year-old Jerika Binks, who went missing more than a year ago.
“Positive identification has yet to be made,” said a statement by the sheriff’s office.
The remains were collected on April 15 and have been sent to the Medical Examiner’s office for identification.
Binks went missing on Feb. 18, 2018, after leaving the sober house where she lived, telling her roommates she was going for a run and leaving with only her cellphone.
Authorities are confident that the remains from the ravine are of Binks.
“We feel pretty strongly that this is Jerika,” Sergeant Spencer Cannon of the UCSO told the Daily Herald. “But we don’t want to say with 100 percent certainty.”
According to the sheriff’s office statement, “Several personal items were located with the remains that are consistent with descriptions of property known to be owned by Jerika Binks as described by family members and friends.”
The human remains found in the canyon showed evidence of injury, said the sheriff’s office. “But there is no evidence at this stage of the investigation to suggest foul play was involved in this death.”
The place the remains were found, above the Swinging Bridge picnic site, is a drainage area, not a hiking trail.
“The man said he hikes regularly in that area but had never before hiked in this particular ravine,” according to a statement from the sheriff’s office. “The terrain is extremely rugged and steep, and the remains were located on the north side of the canyon about 850 feet above the floor of the canyon.”
When Binks went missing, she was last seen running through the city at the foot of the mountains near the canyon. Two months later, detectives found images of Binks on a closed trail up in the canyon, captured on a motion sensor camera set up to observe wildlife.
The four images show her making her way down the trail near the Timpanogos Cave National Monument, according to the sheriff’s office.
Detectives initially withheld this information from the public to allow for the freedom to investigate a possible homicide.
According to an update on the case at the beginning of this year from the sheriff’s office, “extensive searches of the Timpanogos Cave area have been conducted by Search and Rescue teams, drones, helicopters, and airplanes. Other areas in American Fork Canyon, including the area of Tibble Fork Reservoir, have also been searched without positive results.”
Thank you to those that joined the small search event today. We covered some of the more wooded areas along the mouth…
According to the Sheriff’s office, Binks had a history of drug problems, but had responded well to treatment, was staying clean, and was fully committed to recovery. She also regularly took long runs and had participated in a number of marathons.
In the course of the investigation, deputies determined that she was known to sneak out of the sober house and meet with men, reported KSL. She had used her Snapchat to arrange to meet someone in this way about a week before her disappearance.
Back in February, the Sheriff’s office said that they had followed up on every one of the “numerous” tips they had received, some from outside of Utah.
“These tips included possible sightings and information from psychics,” said the statement. “All of these tips have been found to be unsubstantiated or the information was not at all credible.
The family has also spent the last year tirelessly looking for Binks, sharing information and updates to a Facebook page, and scouring the local area for possible signs of her.