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Police arrest person of interest in missing woman case

By Devon Dewey and Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com | Updated - Oct 14th, 2018 @ 3:28pm | Posted - Oct 14th, 2018 @ 8:51am


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SALT LAKE CITY — A series of arguments between a man and woman ended with the man driving off and leaving the woman stranded at a campsite in Juab County, where it appears she later died in the area, according to jail documents.

Volunteers who had been searching for 64-year-old Jan Pearson-Jenkins found a body matching her description Saturday near Silver City in Juab County, according to the jail report. She had been missing since Oct. 4, authorities said.

Cody Alexander Young, 42, was arrested and booked into Juab County Jail late Saturday night after park rangers at Yuba State Park noticed his vehicle at the reservoir, according to a statement by Juab County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Brent Pulver. He was arrested for investigation of murder, according to his jail report.

The volunteers found the body on a sagebrush hillside, and detectives found marks and bruising on the woman's back and legs, as well as a mark on the head, the report states.

Detectives also noted that the body appeared to have been "exposed to the elements for some time," the report states. When detectives interviewed Young after he was arrested, he did not admit to any physical violence between him and Pearson-Jenkins, but said the two had been arguing in the days leading up to her disappearance, according to the report.

Young was reportedly camping with Pearson-Jenkins when she was last seen Oct. 4. Young messaged Pearson-Jenkins’ family on Oct. 5 and told them they got into an argument and he left her in the Silver City/Eureka area where they had been camping, Sandy Police Sgt. Jason Nielsen said earlier in the week. Pearson-Jenkins didn’t have her purse or cellphone and wasn’t appropriately dressed for the weather, according to Nielsen.

Juab County officials checked the area where Young said he left Pearson-Jenkins but did not locate her. Search crews on Saturday located a body about a mile from where officials believe Young and Pearson-Jenkins had camped, according to Pulver. Officials have not identified the body at this time.

“We have found a body. I cannot confirm the identity of the body. Circumstantially, one could believe that it is hers,” Pulver said Saturday.

Young told detectives that the pair had planned to go camping near Delta on Oct. 3. As they passed through Eureka, Young told detectives, they noticed it was getting dark and decided to pull over on a road near Silver City to camp that night and the next night, the report states.

On Oct. 4, the two got into an argument over money and “repair work that had been performed at Jan’s mother’s residence,” according to the report. After that, he told Pearson-Jenkins that their relationship was “done,” the report states.

Young told detectives the pair made up and then decided to stay the night of Oct. 4 in the same camping spot. The next morning, Oct. 5, the pair drove a short distance before deciding to spend another night camping and finding another campsite, the report states.

About 4 p.m. that day, Young told detectives the pair got into another argument. That dispute ended with Young getting into his van, locking the doors and driving off, leaving Pearson-Jenkins stranded at the campsite, the report states.

He told detectives "he was aware that by leaving Jan something might possibly happen to her," the report states, but also said he no longer felt comfortable being around the woman.

After the argument, Young told detectives he "contemplated whether he should go back and pick Jan up," the report states, but ended up going to Nephi. He spent the next two nights there in a gas station parking lot, according to the report.

He also made unsuccessful attempts to call Pearson-Jenkins' brother to tell him where she was and ended up sending the brother a text message, the report states.

After staying two nights in Nephi, he traveled to Yuba State Park and was there until authorities located him Saturday, according to the report. He told detectives he continued reading articles in the news about Pearson-Jenkins, and "thought that something bad could have happened to Jan," the report states.

Young made no attempts to contact law enforcement officials before he was located, according to the report.

The body has been transported to the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office to determine its identity and the cause of death. Young's van also was retained as evidence, and detectives plan to seek a search warrant for the vehicle, according to the report.

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Devon Dewey
Jacob Klopfenstein

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