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WOODS CROSS — A Woods Cross family was waiting to hear Friday if the remains of two bodies found near the Utah-Arizona border belong to a couple missing since the beginning of the year.
The family of Jerry and Susan McFalls was informed by the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Thursday afternoon that two bodies had been discovered Monday in the Virgin River Gorge area.
“He wouldn’t give me a whole lot of details as to a specific location where at,” Meridee McFalls told the Deseret News. “They were unsure at the time whether they were male or female.”
The remains were taken to "the FBI crime lab," according to a statement from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, though it did not say in what state. FBI investigators and sheriff's deputies combed through the area for evidence for four days before announcing their discovery, according to the statement. The sheriff's office did not say who found the remains.
Investigators asked the family if they could expedite dental records on the couple to help identify the bodies.
Jerry David McFalls and his wife, Susan Marie McFalls, both 63, owned a second home in Littlefield, Arizona, and have not been heard from since Jan. 11. On that day, the couple texted family members that they would be traveling to their main home in West Jordan, according to court documents.
According to a search warrant filed in 5th District Court in St. George, a Mohave County sheriff's deputy went to the McFalls' residence on Jan. 21 to conduct a welfare check. The deputy found their house unlocked, pick-up trucks that looked like they were in the process of being loaded, including "coolers and snacks" in the back of one, two dogs inside the house with no food or water, and a purse, wallet and cellphone on the kitchen table.
The McFalls' son, who lives in Woods Cross, told investigators at the time that his parents "are not the type to leave the property without a vehicle, and do not hike due to their physical limitations. Susan Marie McFalls is reported to be a diabetic, and has issues walking for extended periods of time," according to the warrant.
The family reiterated that on Thursday.
"From their house to the gorge is about 3 to 4 miles,” Jerry McFalls Jr. said. “My mom had degenerative back disease … and she couldn’t walk more than 100 yards in that kind of terrain. They always took their side-by-side if they were going on the dirt roads or one of their cars if they were going somewhere else. They really didn’t walk anywhere."
"If it is them, they did not get there on their own - it’s one thing that we know for sure,” Meridee McFalls said. “All their vehicles were at home. They did not go for a walk up the gorge any direction.”
Shell casings were found near the couple's truck in Littlefield and at least one handgun, possibly two, were missing from the house, court records state.
In March, a private investigator hired by the family said he believed the McFalls were the victims of homicide.
A sheriff's office spokeswoman on Friday said she did not know how long it would take to identify the remains that were found or determine a cause of death.