July 11, 2018 (Story updated with additional information)
A search for a Perry City man that went missing on Sunday came to a tragic end Wednesday morning, when his body was recovered from the waters of Willard Bay.
The man, identified as Brandon Larsen, 46, is suspected to have been paddleboarding at the bay, possibly drowning when a storm blew through the area on Sunday night..
According to Willard Bay State Park Manager James Morgan, the search for Larsen began on Tuesday morning after park employees noticed a car that had been parked at Eagle Beach since Sunday. Park rangers ran the license plate and learned that the car belonged to Larsen, and that he had been reported missing since Sunday.
A beach chair, sandals, beach towel, and car keys were previously found on Eagle Beach on Sunday night, and were turned into lost and found. On Tuesday park officials confirmed that those keys belonged to Larsen's car.
Larsen is believed to have brought a paddleboard to Willard Bay with him. Investigators have not yet located the paddleboard and are asking for the public’s help in finding it. The board is a Dave Scadden Paddlesports inflatable, Grand Slam model. It is lime green with a white border.
"If anyone has found a paddleboard or may have seen Larsen on the board at Willard Bay Sunday, please contact Utah State Parks. This paddleboard, along with any information about Larsen’s activities Sunday, is important to the investigation," wrote Morgan in a news release.
A multi-agency search was organized on Tuesday, including officers from Utah State Parks, the Willard City Police Department, the Box Elder County Sheriff's Department and their search and rescue dive team, as well as the Brigham City Police Department, who provided a command center. Multiple friends and family members also participated in the search.
During search efforts on Tuesday, a cell phone belonging to Larsen was found floating in a dry bag.
Larsen was located in the water at approximately 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning, and his body was soon after recovered.
"He kept a life-jacket on his paddleboard, but he was not wearing it," said Morgan to the News Journal on Wednesday morning. "We know that he went out paddleboarding on Sunday night, and there was a storm that came through on Sunday night."
Utah State Parks is currently investigating the death as a drowning. As part of the news release, the agency asked "everyone to always wear your life jacket when out on the water."
In a statement released Wednesday, Larsen's family expressed their appreciation for all of the agencies and people involved in the search, and have asked for privacy.
Box Elder News Journal
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