WASHINGTON COUNTY – Two missing persons cases were resolved Thursday night in Washington County as rescuers located the bodies of two missing men, both found dead. One of the missing individuals appears to have been another victim of Monday’s flash flooding.
At 5:13 p.m. Thursday, rescuers located the body of Ryan Mertlich, a Hurricane man who has been missing since Monday.
Mertlich reportedly left a family member’s residence in Washington City Monday night and never arrived home. Family members told authorities that Mertlich sometimes liked to drive home to Hurricane through the Warner Valley area.
Mertlich’s vehicle was found heavily damaged Wednesday in an area of the Arizona Strip a few miles south of the Utah border. Thursday evening, his body was found in the Ft. Pearce Wash area of Warner Valley.
“From what I know, it sounds like he was caught up in the flood,” Washington County Search and Rescue Commander Mike Thomas said.
Fox 13 Now interviewed Mertlich’s father; report continues below
In the search for Mertlich, Thomas said, local resources were assisted by responders from Sanpete County and Sevier County, who traveled to Washington County Thursday morning to assist in the search for the final missing canyoneer in Zion National Park, which concluded Thursday.
“When this call came in, they diverted,” Thomas said. “They actually came out and helped us out.”
Thursday evening, responders were also dispatched to Snow Canyon State Park, where a family member sighted the vehicle of Brian Timpson, another man who has been missing from Washington City since Friday.
Timpson’s vehicle was located in the Whiterocks Trail parking area of Snow Canyon State Park, and Washington County authorities were called to the area.
The Washington County Search and Rescue team was deployed and began searching, with the aid of a K-9 unit, from the place where the vehicle was found.
The SAR team also called in Life Flight for assistance, giving the Life Flight responders a search area to cover.
“Life Flight donated an hour of time,” Thomas said.
Life Flight performed a flyover and located Timpson’s body from the air, relaying the GPS coordinates to responders on the ground. Timpson’s body was reportedly found in a slot canyon.
The ground crew went in, investigated and extracted the body, Thomas said.
There was no evidence of foul play in Timpson’s death, Thomas said.
“It’s an ongoing investigation,” he said.
Thursday night’s discoveries added two more individuals to Washington County’s staggering recent death toll.
“It’s just been a sad week,” Thomas said. “It’s been a rough week.”
“At least the families can start to get some closure,” he added.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
St. George News reporter Ric Wayman contributed to this report.
Ed. note Sept. 18: CORRECTION to spelling made: Fort Pearce Wash, rather than Fort Pierce Wash.
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