For weeks, family and friends of Paul Swenson searched Salt Lake Valley, Utah, for some sign of the missing father. Now, they’ve received the news they dreaded most.
As Fox 13 News reported Monday, the husband and father from American Fork, Utah, disappeared on July 27. Swenson left for an appointment in Salt Lake — about 30 minutes away — but never returned. Swenson’s wife, Ashlee, was concerned because her husband had been acting strangely before he left.
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I never would have believed you if you would have told me thirteen days ago I would be sitting in this place. In the end I know we will be ok, we will prevail and we will look back and be grateful for what we learned during this trial. Right now it's enduring every day, hour by hour minute by minute. Thank you so much for your love and sweet comments. I can't get to them all right now, but know that I see every single one and when I feel too weak to stand I come here for support and love. ❤️?? #bringpaulhome #findpaulswenson #helpfindpaul #lovelikepaul
As the search for Paul went on, Sgt. Josh Christensen of the American Fork Police Department told Fox 13:
“When he left that day, his behavior with his wife she described as being strange and not himself … caused her to believe that he may be suffering from a medical condition or mental health crisis.”
Though authorities eventually found Swenson’s abandoned BMW, three weeks passed with no sign of the missing dad. In the meantime, family handed out fliers, organized a search, and begged him to return home.
According to KSL News, Swenson’s family worked with local law enforcement, eventually agreeing to scale back the search as authorities believed they had narrowed down his possible location.
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Our family has learned the heart-wrenching news that the body of our beloved Paul Heiner Swenson has been found. We are deeply pained to have our most dreaded fear confirmed. We have been working with law enforcement closely over the past weeks as they search for answers. Thank you for your prayers for Paul and our whole family. We are asking for privacy as our family takes the time to absorb this tragic news and to mourn. We want to express our deepest gratitude to you as our community. Your support has lifted us. Please pray for us. #lovelikepaul With love, Ashlee Swenson Reed & Maryanne Swenson John & Tresa Martindale
At about 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, that search ended when someone reported a body floating in Mill Creek. By Monday, authorities confirmed that it was Swenson. Officer Gary Keller of the South Salt Lake Police told Fox 13:
“They determined through clothing, ID in the victim’s pocket, and tattoos that this was in fact the body of Paul Swenson.”
Though they haven’t yet determined how Swenson died, there were no obvious indications that the father had been the victim of a crime. Keller said:
“The medical examiner indicated that there was no obvious signs of foul play. There’s no trauma, force, or anything like that, that is obvious to the death.”
He added that it was clear Swenson had died some time earlier: “We don’t know how long he’s been down, but I will say that the body was in poor condition. It’s been a long time.”
Police are now investigating what might have happened, including checking video in the area and performing toxicology and other tests. Though police did receive a tip that Swenson had been seen in the area where his body was found, they expect it to be a while before they have any answers.
Keller told KSL that it’s possible that Swenson died elsewhere and was carried downstream after recent heavy rains, adding: “We still have a lot more questions than answers and we’re working to get some resolution and closure for the family.”
Our family has learned the heart-wrenching news that the body of our beloved Paul Heiner Swenson has been found. We are deeply pained to have our most dreaded fear confirmed.
The statement concluded with a request for prayers and privacy: “Thank you for your prayers for Paul and our whole family. We are asking for privacy as our family takes the time to absorb this tragic news and to mourn.”