Human remains found near Virgin River in Washington County

Stock image | St. George News

WASHINGTON COUNTY — Human remains were discovered in a remote area near the Virgin River in Washington County Friday afternoon.

Sheriff’s deputies and detectives were dispatched Friday to a remote area in southwestern Washington County near the Virgin River on an incident involving possible human remains after a call to 911 reported the discovery, Washington County Sheriff’s Lt. Dave Crouse said.

Satellite image of area where body is found Friday near the Virgin River Washington County, Utah, Aug. 25, 2017 | Image courtesy of Google Earth, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

“Families out … (for recreation) in an area near the Virgin River came upon human remains, and called emergency dispatch to report it,” Crouse said.

The location where the remains were discovered is remote and thus a more precise description was not immediately stated as this report publishes.

Sheriff’s personnel responded to investigate and found a body that appeared to be in an advanced state of decomposition, Crouse said, and according to the initial report it was that of a female.

The remains were removed from the area to be transferred to the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner for identification and autopsy to determine the cause of death. As a measure of caution, these types of cases are typically considered criminal investigations until foul play can be ruled out.

“We are working on trying to identify the victim and cause of death, which will be determined at the M.E.’s office in Salt Lake,” Crouse said.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Search and Rescue and a ranger from the Bureau of Land Management responded to the scene.

This is not the first incident of human remains found in Washington County this month. The body of a woman, later identified as Amy Crawford, was found Aug. 5 near the Santa Clara River. The body of a man, yet to be identified, was discovered near the Washington Hollow Trail Aug. 19. In both cases, cause of death is yet to be confirmed or released as this report publishes.

This report is based on statements from law enforcement and emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • Real Life August 27, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Authorities need to quit being so mum. Seems a new body is found every week. People are going to start assuming things.

  • comments August 27, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    the desert of zion is just littered with decaying corpses lately it seems. Makes you wonder. I always wish they’d elaborate on “advanced state of decomposition”. Could be anywhere from a few days dead to just a pile of bones. Of course with our climate a body has the potential to dehydrate and mummify… if the coyotes don’t get at it first. no joke

  • darkgoddess August 28, 2017 at 5:25 am

    Sounds like we might have a serial killer…

  • SteveSGU August 28, 2017 at 5:50 am

    You need to report the location better. The southwestern end of the Virgin River in Washington County is not a remote location. It is near Bloomington.

    And your choice of illustrations is often misleading and inaccurate. This time, crime scene chalk indicates a murder. You don’t know that. In fact, it’s likely not foul play, right?

  • Mike P. August 28, 2017 at 10:32 am

    I see dead people…………….

  • Redbud August 29, 2017 at 1:52 am

    Maybe trying to make a name for himself/herself, the “Virgin River Killer”? Kinda reminds me of the “Green River Killer” (Gary Leon Ridgway)’.

  • mctrialsguy August 30, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    We need more information as local residents, visitors and tourists have a right to know if they may be in danger. Do we have three (3) separate instance of hikers in the heat, or a potential serial killer or trucker using St. George as a dumping ground?? People need to know! I know people that are getting very concerned.

    • Redbud September 1, 2017 at 1:52 am

      Mctrialsguy, whenever something like this happens there is always an investigation, and the results from those investigations don’t come overnight. I am a transplant from a much larger city where dead bodies were found every other day, and were not much news at all. Being a smaller community though, I can see why people might be alarmed. From what I have seen so far though, most murders in this area aren’t so much random killings. Usually the other person did something to piss the other person off, maybe it’s a spouse that caught their significant other cheating, for sure many of them involve drugs, perhaps there is some gang affiliation, someone owed someone else money for something illegal, the list goes on etc, etc… I haven’t really heard of anyone in St. George lately just randomly getting targeted for no reason, and I still feel like this is a very safe community compared to others I have seen. I’m not saying dead bodies are no big deal, I am just saying don’t read into too much. Soon we will have the results of the investigations, and I am willing to bet you that none of them were random targeting by a “serial killer.” You have to remember that police have families too. They have neighbors and friends in the community, and if they concluded that these were indeed serial killings, it will be plastered on the front page of the newspaper (and of coarse this website). If they really do come to that conclusion then yes, THEN we need to be worried, but until then, not so much.

      • Joshua September 17, 2017 at 9:10 am

        Sounds like something a serial killer would say.

  • ScanMeister September 6, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Sad to hear that but let us not jump to conclusions. Perhaps drug related or??? we will see

  • Susan October 18, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Her name was Elizabeth Chatman, she was our daughter from Oklahoma. She came to Las Vegas to start a new life. Cause of death unknown, no drugs, no alcohol, no trauma….. she would have been 32 years old on July 30th she had not made contact since July 9th. Something was very, very wrong. They continue to investigate because the death (along with many others in the area I am sure is suspicious to say the least. She was a lovely person, an artist, and beloved by her parents, 5 brothers and friends…. They cannot tell us how she died or when even…We brought her home and laid her to rest….the mystery and pain continue. We know in our hearts someone knows her story as well as the others who are found near St George. I would think this trend should concern all..

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.