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Michelle Graves

Scouts find body of missing woman while hiking in Tooele County

By Robynn Garfield | Posted - Oct 12th, 2013 @ 9:52pm


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TOOELE CITY — Police said a body found in Tooele County on Saturday is most likely that of Jane Ashby, who has been missing since July. A group of scouts found the body in a remote section of Tooele County . Family members said Ashby went missing July 31 after she left her home in Tooele City.

Police said the scouts found the body near a red SUV on a rugged mountainside in Tooele County. Family members said initially they were worried Ashby had left her house to commit suicide. Preliminary reports by police, however, said her car most likely went off the road down a steep embankment not viewable from the road.

Sgt. Lonnie Collings with the Tooele City Police Department said it appeared Ashby took a wrong turn and her car veered off the side of a switchback. He said the car and body were found off a road that connects Tooele City with Salt Lake County near Middle Canyon.

"There are some very tight switchbacks," Collings said. "She went off the road and her car plunged 800 to 1000 feet down a steep mountainside."

The wreckage was discovered Saturday afternoon by a troop of boy scouts who had been hiking in the area. Collings said the scouts came upon the SUV first and then found the body near the scene of the accident.

"They picked up an ID and got a hold of law enforcement," Collings said.

Collings said police can't confirm the body is that of Ashby's until the medical examiner releases a report but the car and the ID are both hers.

"Family has been notified," Collings said. "We have every reason to believe the deceased is Jane Ashby. These roads had been searched before, but there's no way to see the wreckage from the road."

Ashby was listed as a missing person in July after she left her house and was never seen again by family and friends. Her last credit card purchase was from a local Walmart for bleach and Drano, a combination that creates deadly chemicals, leading family to believe Ashby was planning suicide.

Ashby's daughter, Michelle Graves, said her mother became extremely depressed after her husband, Michelle's father, passed away last December from cancer.

"After my dad passed away in December she was suffering quite a bit from depression," Graves said. "When she disappeared they were worried she had committed suicide. It looks like that's why the investigation went in that direction."

Graves said the area were her mother's body was found was a place the family used to frequent when the children were little.

"We used to take picnics up there to see the view," Graves said. "In a way it makes sense to me that she would go up there and have a little peace."


My mother was the most generous person I've ever known.

–Michelle Graves


Graves said that while she's devastated at her mother's passing, she is relieved to have closure.

"I'm just relieved to know what happened, glad to know she's not in pain or alone," Graves said. "I'm very sad she's not with us. It's that bitter sweet emotion of being relieved and sad at the same time."

Graves said her mother was the type of person who was always helping other people.

"My mother was the most generous person I've ever known," Graves said.

Police said they will release more information regarding the circumstances of Ashby's death as the investigation continues.


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