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Kimberly Houk Reporting Every year, certain stories stand out. This week we're taking a look back at the top ten Utah stories of 2004. Number six in the list was a sad summer for a Utah family whose little boy disappeared on a scouting trip.
A father consumed with grief...
Kevin Bardsley, Father: “This is a great loss for our family right now.”
An unimaginable burden, so many questions still left unanswered. It's been four and a half months since his little boy went missing. And to this day he still doesn't know what happened to him.
It was mid-August when hundreds of volunteer searchers scoured the rough terrain of the high Uinta mountains in hopes of finding 12-year old Garrett Bardsley, the little boy who went missing after leaving his boy scout troop behind. He was making his way back to camp to change his wet clothes, but police say he never made it. And no one has ever found any trace of him.
Sheriff Dave Edmunds, Summit County Sheriff's Office, August 29: “We don't know if he just made a beeline somewhere, and is outside the search area, or if he took shelter somewhere and actually froze. We just don't know what happened at this point."
And parents are coping with the fact that they may never know what happened to their son. After several weeks of intense searching through rain, hail, and falling temperatures, volunteers were called off, but Bardsley's family continued to look for him.
Kevin Bardsley, Father, August 23: “We haven’t given up hope. We don’t want to leave Garrett here on this mountain.”
But heavy snow fall led to heavy hearts as family members reluctantly had to leave the mountains and their son behind. Garrett's body was never recovered, and instead of a funeral, last month family and friends said good bye to Garrett during a memorial service.
Heidi Bardsley, Mother, November 15: “We do feel like he’s not with us anymore.”
Kevin Bardsley: “We know he’s with his Heavenly Father. All we’re looking for are his remains so we can put closure to it.”
Whether that closure comes sooner or later, the Bardsleys say their love for Garrett and the support of family and friends will help them face the future.