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Local News

The Missing Elementary School Teacher's Body Recovered

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Summit County Sheriff's Office
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A headlamp, a lighter and a wallet full of papers wasn’t enough to sustain the life of Eagle Crest Elementary School Teacher, Ray Humphreys. The 66-year-old, camping with his family in the high Uintas, was found after he went missing for six days, a mile and a half away from his family’s campsite. Melissa Allison has more:

Ray Humphreys wasn’t a stranger to Hidden Lake in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. He and his family were enjoying their annual family trip when Humphreys went to collect some water about 100 yards from camp at night.

He had  told a couple of people where he was going, but due to a lack of communication, no one realized he hadn’t come back.

It wasn’t until the next morning when family members realized he was missing and alerted the authorities.

Hundreds of people including search and rescue spent six days looking for him. But due to his grey clothing and the landscape, Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez says it was only by luck that they were able to find him.

“The terrain that he was in was so congested” Martinez said. “I mean, it was actually just a shot in the dark that the spotter in the helicopter found him cause they had flown that area multiple times. We had ground searchers in that area, we had people on horseback. But it’s so congested that unless you literally almost come up, right on top of him, you would not have seen him. I think it just happened to be the right angle they were flying in and the right sun coverage that just opened him up to that one moment.”

No one knows at this time, exactly what happened. One thing Martinez says is for certain, several factors came into play in Humphrey’s untimely death.

“There’s a question of dementia,” Martinez said. “Now, I don’t know that to be factual, but people had mentioned that he may have suffered from slight dementia. If that was a factor, you take the cold weather, you take the altitude, you know his age, his conditioning. All of these things in consideration in one event, I think, any one of them on themselves, probably not a terrible situation. But if you take it all in one event, it unfortunately led to a bad outcome.”

Martinez says their heart goes out to Humphrey’s family but are grateful they were able to provide some closure for his loved ones.

I’m Melissa Allison, KPCW News.