CEDAR CITY – A ranch hand riding on horseback Sunday located the deceased body of a 34-year-old Cedar City man reported missing two months ago.
Authorities believe the body is that of Daniel Michael Brown who walked away from his stranded family on March 28 to get help, said Iron County Sheriff Lt. Del Schlosser.
“The items found with the body lead us to believe that it is Daniel Michael Brown who has been missing for two months,” Schlosser said.
The ranch hand found the body under a tree near a dirt road just two miles east of milepost 31 on state Route 130 Minersville Highway. He contacted his employer, a local rancher, who then contacted law enforcement.
At the time Brown went missing, Iron County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue crews had set up a command post at milepost 31 and searched for Brown nearly a week before Sheriff Mark Gower called off all search and recovery efforts. The volunteers had scoured more than 75 square miles during that time.
The body was found within 300 feet of where the teams searched, authorities said. At the time Brown went missing search crews were given information he was headed northeast from the vehicle. The area where Brown was located was within the full search area, Schlosser said.
“Given where he was located you would have had to walk right next to him to have seen him,” Schlosser said. “It’s disappointing though because where Daniel was, if he had just turned right – he would’ve walked on to the main road and been found.”
Brown was reported missing by his wife Tuesday, March 29. She told police the couple had been stuck in the snow on a dirt road near Kane Springs all of Monday night in the family van, along with their four children, ages 7 months through 11 years old. Kane Springs is located just northwest of Parowan and southeast of Minersville.
When the van got stuck that Monday evening, Brown left his wife and children to go find help.
At the time he left the weather was good enough, but it wasn’t long after that a windy storm blew in through the night bringing freezing temperatures with it. He was only wearing a T-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes.
Though Brown was reported to have survival skills, it’s likely the elements and hypothermia were to blame for his death, Schlosser said.
On May 12, a company from the Wasatch front area offered their services to the area with drones. They were able to search the area near the vehicle using the drones and specialized equipment and filters on the lenses of the camera. Although this did not lead to the discovery of the body it was helpful in eliminating further search areas, Schlosser said.
While law enforcement wishes it would have ended differently Schlosser said they are glad to bring closure to the family.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time,” Schlosser said.