Austin Madsen, missing person from Mapleton, found dead near Mount Dutton
The remains of 32-year-old Mapleton resident Austin Madsen were found on Monday in Garfield County near Mount Dutton, a little more than four months after his disappearance on Jan. 27.
According to a statement released Thursday by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, the body was discovered Monday at approximately 2:30 p.m. through a pair of optics used by shed hunters, who reported the sighting to the sheriff’s office and guided their team to the location.
“We sent officers, search and rescue, and our deputy who represents the office of the medical examiner out there, and he determined that there was no foul play. The death looked to be of natural causes” after succumbing to the elements, said Joe Adams, public information officer for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
The remains were transported that same day to Taylorsville, where the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner identified the body through dental records from the Mapleton Police Department.
According to the deceased’s father, Aron Madsen, Austin suffered from bipolar disorder and experienced mental crises on occasion.
“He just wanted to leave Mapleton to get away and clear his head and was heading to Arizona, south of Kanab, but something distracted him and took him to Mount Dutton, until he got his truck stuck in the snow,” Aron Madsen told KSL. He later said in a Facebook post that Austin’s “stated destination (was) Fredonia, Arizona, where his family used to live.”
The last communication Austin Madsen sent was a video of himself on the mountain to a friend on Jan. 27. Police were able to use the video to identify the area as one near Mount Dutton.
Search and rescue efforts began Jan. 29 in Dry Hollow, approximately 5 miles southeast of the location where Madsen’s body was found on Monday. Members of the sheriff’s offices in Garfield, Iron, Sevier and Piute counties assisted in the search. They discovered Madsen had left the truck and followed his footprints in the snow for miles up the mountain.
Due to a severe snowstorm, the search was put on pause but resumed after the storm passed. The search ended on Feb. 3 after the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office declared in a press release that “all leads had become exhausted.”
Several reports of Madsen being seen in Ogden later came through but proved to be someone else. An additional search party consisting of deputies from Garfield County and members of the Rocky Mountain Rescue Dogs searched during the weekend of May 20 but found nothing.
According to Thursday’s press release, the Fredonia Police Department informed Madsen’s relatives of the discovery of his remains.
“Garfield County Sheriff’s Office would like to express our deepest condolences to the Madsen family and ask that any request for information be made through this office while their family is afforded time to mourn such a tragic loss,” the press release reads.
Madsen is survived by his wife, Emily, and their two young sons, ages 2 and 9 months.