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Body found in South Salt Lake identified as missing American Fork man Paul Swenson


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SOUTH SALT LAKE — The body of a man discovered in Mill Creek Sunday was identified Monday evening as Paul Swenson, 30, an American Fork man who went missing in July.

Swenson went missing on July 27, after he was last seen leaving his home in American Fork. Swenson’s vehicle was later found in Salt Lake City.

The Utah State Medical Examiner's Office identified Swenson's body. They were waiting on toxicology reports Monday, and did not release a cause of death, according to South Salt Lake police spokesman Gary Keller. However, the medical examiner told police there were no signs of foul play.

Keller said he did not know how the identification was initially made, but said a driver's license was found on the body and tattoos also match up.

Swenson's family posted the news that Swenson's body had been recovered on Facebook shortly before police announced the identity of the body found in South Salt Lake.

"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," the family posted. "We want to express our deepest gratitude to you as our community. Your support has lifted us. Please pray for us."

The discovery ended a nearly three-week search for the American Fork man, whose disappearance led to a widespread search around the Salt Lake Valley.

Swenson’s cellphone was last pinged the evening of his disappearance near 4700 South and 900 East. His BMW was located near Parkview Elementary in the Glendale neighborhood on July 28, prompting American Fork police to announce a missing person’s case.

Police said Swenson's wife and others reported that Swenson was acting strangely in the days before he disappeared, leading police to believe he was not in a good mental state when he last left his American Fork home. He also had seen a doctor the morning of his disappearance complaining of chest pain.

In the first few days after Swenson was reported missing, hundreds of people volunteered in the effort, and people sent tips to Facebook pages dedicated to the cause that filled pages of police notes. After meeting with officers to plan a further course of action earlier this month, Swenson's family said they would scale back their search .

In early August, American Fork police started working more with Unified police, since authorities believed Swenson's last-known location was within their jurisdiction.

Swenson's body was located in Mill Creek at about 4 p.m., Sunday. Keller said someone saw a body floating down the creek.

Responding officers located the body near 135 West and 2950 South. Crews were able to retrieve the body near 235 West and 2950 South after it became caught in debris in the creek, Keller said.

He said while the examiner's office is working to find a cause of death, South Salt Lake police are working on their own investigation.

"Our investigation on the police side is still ongoing at this time to try and determine the why and how he came to be in the Mill Creek," he said. "There's a lot of questions at this time, and a lot of things that need to be answered."

Keller said the body was likely there for "awhile," though he did not know exactly how long it had been in the creek or where the body entered the water. It is possible a rain storm Sunday afternoon dislodged the body from another location in the creek, he added.

"We still have a lot more questions than answers and we're working to get some resolution and closure for the family," Keller said.

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Carter Williams

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