Authorities still unsure how missing hiker died, awaiting autopsy report

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KAMAS, Summit County — Authorities said Wednesday they are waiting for an official autopsy report to determine how a South Jordan man who went missing in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest last week died.

The body of Ray Humpherys, 66, was located Tuesday by helicopter in the Middle Fork drainage area approximately 1 1/2 miles from where he was last seen near Hidden Lake in the forest, according to Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez.

“The terrain did not allow the helicopter to land at that time, so what they had to do (was) guide the ground crew to that location,” he said. “The ground crew was able to reach the body of Mr. Humpherys and were able to make a positive identification.”

Humpherys’ body was taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Salt Lake City for an autopsy where a cause and exact time of death will be determined. Martinez said Humpherys appeared to have suffered some sort of injuries, but authorities don’t suspect foul play.

It wasn’t immediately known why Humpherys was in the location where he was found. Investigators believe he had gone to the lake to gather water to put out a campfire about 10 p.m. Wednesday. Martinez said Humpherys may have gotten disoriented, or it could have just been too dark to navigate the forest at that time.

“We can only speculate as to why he was so far off (the nearest trail). I don’t know why he was where he was located,” Martinez said. “It’s unsure how he got there, whether he went up a slope or around. We don’t know his exact travel.”

Humpherys’ family issued a statement Wednesday thanking authorities and the more than 400 volunteers who helped search for Humpherys.

“We appreciate all of the help from hundreds of volunteers, the Garrett Bardsley Foundation, and the Summit County and Rescue for diligently searching,” the family wrote in the statement. “We have been overwhelmed by the love and support of our neighbors, friends and stake members during this difficult time for our family. It’s incredible to see how many lives were touched by our beloved dad and husband.”

A Facebook page was also created for people to send their condolences to the family. The family also set up a GoFundMe page* Wednesday to raise money for the Garett Bardsley Foundation and the Summit County Search and Rescue teams, which helped search for Humpherys after he was reported missing.

Martinez added while it’s not the result the Summit County Sheriff’s Office was hoping for, he’s glad the family received closure in the missing person's case.

“They have the ability now to take their beloved father and husband and give him the proper funeral he deserves, where there are those who are unfortunately still missing up in the Uintas,” he said. “We yearly go back to do searches to see if we can find them.”

* does not assure that the money 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.


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Carter Williams is a reporter who covers general news, local government, outdoors, history and sports for


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