ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. — A West Valley City police officer missing since Tuesday was found deceased late Thursday night.
The Wyoming Highway Patrol received a call at 9:50 p.m. about a single-car accident in the westbound lane of the I-80 tunnels in Sweetwater County, Wyo. Police officers discovered Michael Valdes, 37, alone in the car with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Valdes was transported by emergency responders to the Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County in Rock Springs where he was declared dead.
The WHP discovered the handgun used in Valdes' vehicle. Investigators were still trying to determine whether Valdes shot himself while he was driving on the freeway or after the crash.
The westbound lane of I-80 was closed about four hours during the investigation.
"Our hearts go out to his family, friends and co-workers who have asked that their privacy be respected," the West Jordan Police Department said in a news release. "Michael will always be remembered for his big smile, dedication to his family and service to his community and country."
Valdes was last seen leaving for work on March 19 between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., but he never arrived at work. The West Jordan Police Department has been handling Valdes' case since his disappearance and are continuing investigations in coordination with West Valley City.
An account has been set up for donations for Valdes' family by former students from Granger High School. Funds can be donated to the Mike Valdes Memorial account at America First Credit Union*.
*ksl.com has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does ksl.com assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.