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Hiker finds body of missing elderly man in Neffs Canyon

Hiker finds body of missing elderly man in Neffs Canyon


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Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

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HOLLADAY — The body of a missing 80-year-old man was located near a creek in Neffs Canyon Wednesday night, officials said.

Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said a hiker discovered the body and contacted police around 6:15 p.m. The body was confirmed to be that of Fritz Helland, who had been missing since Wednesday, Oct. 24.

The deceased man was found near a creek, Hoyal said, but it was not yet confirmed if the body was in or near the water. It appeared that Helland had fallen off the paved trail in the canyon, down a steep hill.

Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder did not confirm whether or not investigators had found the man's Miniature Pinter, Odin, but said he believed that the leashed dog fell down the hill with the man.

Though extensive search efforts took place throughout a a 17-square mile area in Millcreek, the canyon had not been searched. The family indicated to Winder upon the discovery of Helland's body that the man and his deceased wife used to visit the canyon, and it may have been the "many memories of he and his wife" that took him there before his death. Preliminary evidence does not indicate any foul play, Winder said.

At this point in the investigation, police are unsure how far the man walked up the canyon and have yet to locate his vehicle. Police are working to retrieve his body from the canyon.

The family, through Winder, told the nearly 2,000 people who volunteered to search for the man thank you.

"They are remarkable people," Winder said. "Obviously, they have extreme mixed emotions: they're glad to have closure to this and wanted to express their deep gratitude for the community."

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Benjamin Wood

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