Rancher discovers remains of missing Cedar City woman

A photo of Carol Stratton. | Photo courtesy of the Iron County Sheriff's Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — The body of a Cedar City woman that had been missing since last October was found by a rancher just 500 yards from her home.

Carol Stratton, 71, had been reported missing on Oct. 27, 2019, a day after she had last been seen near 3700 W. 4000 North in Cedar City. The woman had rapidly-progressing dementia and was nonverbal.

A large search in the days following that, as well as a second large search in the Three Peaks Recreation area to bring the family closure in May, came up empty.

According to the Iron County Sherrif, a rancher and his employees were using heavy equipment around 2 p.m. Wednesday to clear sagebrush about 500 yards south of the Stratton farm. One of the workers came upon human remains and the rancher reported their findings to the sheriff. Detectives, crime scene investigators and personnel from the Office of the Medical Examiner responded to the scene.

A photo of Cedar City woman Carol Stratton, whose remains were found on Sept. 30, 2020, after she had been missing for nearly a year. | Photo courtesy of the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

Officials say the preliminary identification is based on where the body was found, the physical description of Stratton and clothing matching what she was wearing at the time she went missing – an orange and blue sweater with a red hat and a large, jeweled necklace.

The sherrif’s office said the body is being sent to the Utah State Medical Examiner’s office for positive identification.

Along with officers and K9 units, the sherrif used a Southern Utah University helicopter to check areas from state Route 130 to Three Peaks as well as from Midvalley Road to 300 North during the initial search last October.

Another search was launched in the same area in May, including in the area where the body was eventually found.

“We exhausted everything we had last year with negative results,” Iron County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dave Mitchell told Cedar City News in May. “A lot of this, too, is for the family just to let them know we haven’t given up and we’re doing everything we humanly can to try to find her.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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