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Missing brothers' bodies found in Strawberry Reservoir

(Wasatch County Sheriff's Office)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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STRAWBERRY RESERVOIR — The bodies of the two brothers who went missing on July 18th were found on Sunday in the Strawberry Reservoir.

Wasatch County Sheriff Jared Rigby announced that search and rescue crews found the bodies of James "Jim" Gardiner, 70, of Salem, and Mark Gardiner, 61, of Pleasant Grove, southwest of the island near the Ladders with the help of SONAR devices at 7 p.m. Sunday.

"I knew that one wasn’t going to leave the other, that’s just the way [they] are," said family representative Mike Gardiner. "[Thank you] to the community who’s been praying for us, we felt that strength."

State park rangers and sheriff's deputies were called about 2:30 p.m., July 18, after a state employee spotted the empty boat. When officials were unable to find the boat's owner, the Wasatch County Search and Rescue team also responded.

Multiple teams were involved in the search.

"We so much appreciate the help of Summit, Utah, and Weber Counties as well as Sublett County, Wyoming. In addition, the State Parks, DPS Helicopter and Dive Teams, Rocky Mountain Search Dogs and Great Basin K9 were critical in the search," Wasatch County Sheriff's Office said in an emailed statement.

Officials aren't sure what specifically happened to the brothers.

"Overall I really think it comes down to this: These brothers, they loved each other and they were helping each other. There was some kind of an accident that occurred on the water while they were fishing, and they were working to help each other at the time when they both succumbed," said Rigby. "There likely was not a criminal element here."

Contributing: Tania Dean, KSL TV

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story indicated that the boat was found Thursday, July 25. It has been corrected to reflect that the boat was found July 18.

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