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PARK CITY — Authorities say if it is a fake post, as they suspect it is, it’s a cruel thing to do to a grieving family.
“It’s pretty heartless if this is, in fact, a fake profile. It is very cruel of someone to put the family through this to create more questions surrounding his disappearance,” said Summit County Sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Wright.
Carl Crumrine, 69, of West Virginia, was with a hunting party in the Lyman Lake area of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in October when he went missing. Crumrine told others that he was going for a walk but did not return to the campsite that evening. He has not been seen since, despite several intense search efforts in the area.
According to a newly unsealed search warrant affidavit, “Carl had kept his possessions with him since he arrived at the camp on (Oct. 12) but on (Oct. 14), he gave his wallet, his phone and his phone password to (another person) ‘just in case’ and asked him to keep the items in (his) truck.”
There had been no activity on Crumrine’s bank accounts or social media accounts until Dec. 4.
It is very cruel of someone to put the family through this to create more questions surrounding his disappearance.
–Lt. Andrew Wright, Summit County Sheriff’s Office
On that day, a woman who is a friend of Crumrine’s daughter received a post on Facebook by someone claiming to be Crumrine, the affidavit states.
“The conversation was started by Carl’s Facebook profile sending (the woman) a message saying ‘Hi’ and said it was Carl. When (the woman) accused the person of not being Carl as he was still missing, Carl said, ‘It’s me. ... I have been with a friend of mine at New York,’” according to the warrant.
Investigators noted that they do not believe it is “probable or likely” that Crumrine would be sending the messages. A search warrant was drafted to send to Facebook headquarters to “determine if those messages actually came from Carl’s profile or from a ‘sock account’ or fake account from someone purporting to be Carl and using a similar looking report,” the affidavit states.
But according to the search warrant return, and confirmed by Wright, Facebook “refused to comply with warrant.”
Wright said detectives were now contemplating what their next step in the investigation will be. He said the sheriff’s offices doesn’t have any reason to believe the post actually came from Crumrine, but the investigation will continue until detectives can come up with answers.
In the meantime, Wright reiterated that if the profile was fake, it was a heartless incident. He was unsure Wednesday, however, whether such an act could be prosecuted as a crime.