Man who abandoned vehicle in Washington City, triggering multi-agency search, walked to Mesquite

Stock image of new Washington City Police Vehicle taken in Washington City, February 21, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The discovery of an abandoned car off Landfill Road in Washington City led to a multi-agency search for its driver, who was later found in Mesquite, Nevada, dehydrated and suffering from exposure.

Map depicts area where abandoned rental car was found by police officers, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 20, 2021 | Image courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

The incident began Saturday when a Washington City Police officer found an abandoned car off Landfill Road near the Western Rock Sorenson Gravel Pit, located less than a mile from the roadway, Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams told St. George News.

After failing to locate the driver during a search of the immediate area, Williams said officers began processing the vehicle for any information that could help to identify and locate the driver, as the ensuing search continued throughout the day.

On Sunday, the search resumed. Washington County Search and Rescue teams, Bureau of Land Management officers and Washington County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the area to assist in the search that continued into Monday.

Washington City lead investigator Sgt. Matt Page said that during this time, officers contacted the rental car company and obtained the man’s name and home address, which was listed in Rhode Island. From there, authorities reached out to the man’s family members, which is when they learned the driver had been reported missing nearly a week earlier.

Officers in Washington City also learned the Las Vegas Metro Police Department had contacted authorities in Rhode Island several days before to advise that the missing man had landed at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. That notification prompted authorities back east to remove him from the missing persons list since he was accounted for.

Williams said as officers were preparing to reopen the search on Wednesday morning in Utah, they received word that the missing man was in a Mesquite motel after he was found severely dehydrated and suffering from exposure after he spent the previous days walking from where he left his vehicle to Mesquite.

They man had contacted his wife back east to let her know where he was, and within a few hours, several of the man’s family members flew to Las Vegas on Wednesday morning and arrived in Mesquite.

Williams said that in the end, the man was found alive and is with his family – which is a positive ending to what was, at first, a baffling mystery for authorities. Additional details surrounding the man’s disappearance are known to authorities, but the family has requested that media not release those details.

Williams also commended the efforts of all involved, including his officers who worked diligently on the case.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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