Two bodies found in an abandoned mine near Eureka, Utah, are believed to be teenagers Breezy Otteson and Riley Powell who went missing late last year.
Authorities discovered the bodies on Wednesday afternoon, March 28, when they conducted a search at Tintic Standard #2, an abandoned mine east of Eureka, reported Fox 2 Now.
The bodies were found on a ledge about 100 feet into the 1,800-foot mine shaft after search crews lowered a camera into the mine.
— RaeAnn Christensen (@RaeOnTheNews) March 28, 2018
Officials said the bodies appear to be the missing Utah teens Otteson and Powell. Their families became concerned for the teens’ welfare on Dec. 30, 2017, and the pair were subsequently reported missing on Jan. 2, 2018.
A positive identification is still needed from the medical examiner’s office before the identities of the bodies can be confirmed, reported KUTV.
“It appears, preliminarily, that it may be Riley Powell and Breezy Otteson, however positive identification needs to be made,” Utah County Sheriff Office Undersheriff Darin Durfey said.
The pair were last seen in the town of Eureka, Utah, after they left one home in Tooele, Utah.
A volunteer in a helicopter had spotted a blue Jeep Cherokee, which police believed was driven by the teens, one mile south of Cherry Creek Reservoir on a road that was hidden by some trees, reported the news station.
Authorities believe foul play is involved.
“Obviously at this point, it appears foul play is involved,” Durfey said, reported the news station.
During a police news conference at 2:30 p.m. on March 28, officials said one body had already been retrieved from the mine and that they were in the process of recovering the second body. Police said the bodies would be taken to the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner for identification.
Juab County Sheriff Douglas Anderson said that the details of the police investigation led them to the mine but he did not say what information specifically assisted them with the discovery of the bodies, reported the news station.
He also added that there are persons of interest in the case. No arrests have been made at the time of writing.
Authorities said the case had started as a search and rescue operation but after the jeep was discovered, the official search for the missing teens was suspended in January and efforts were focused on an investigation. They said they believed the teens’ jeep was placed by someone other than the teens where it was found, reported the news station.
They added that the circumstances surrounding the recovery of the vehicle, its placement and condition make the teens’ disappearance “highly suspicious.”
The families of the teens have been informed about the discoveries.
The police investigation is still ongoing. No further details have been released.