UTAH COUNTY, Utah — Along a remote road in Utah County, flowers now lay where just hours earlier the body of 17-year-old Nathan Haun was found Saturday morning.
“We just know that he was beat up visibly to where we can`t go see him and can`t have an open casket,” said Haun’s father, Preston.
The teenager was found around 5:30 a.m along West Arrowhead Trail, just east of I-15 in a rural area between Salem and Payson. According to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, Haun was so severely injured from head to toe he could only be identified through his clothing and cell phone.
Haun’s family said they last saw him Friday evening as he left with a friend. Now, they just want to know what happened in the hours that followed.
“To think I`ll never see him again, we just want closure,” Preston Haun said. “We want whatever happened… It would just make our life better to know how it happened, why it happened.”
Police said the 17-year-old was at a house party in Payson, drinking with a few other teens. At some point, police believe he and others were given a ride to a second party, but after that the details are unclear, as none of Haun’s friends are talking.
“They’re not only not cooperating with us, they`re being very uncooperative with us,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities believe Haun died along the road somewhere between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. Based on how traumatic his injuries were, police think he either fell or was possibly thrown from a speeding car.
“We’ve got a victim here who died in a horrible way, whose so-called friends are not coming forward and letting us know what happened to this person, who a relatively short number of hours ago was a friend,” Cannon said. “It’s a horrible way to die, but to be abandoned by people who would supposedly have been loyal to him is difficult.”
Police are reviewing surveillance footage of West Arrowhead Trail taken from the nearby Salem City Public Works Department. Cannon said it documents the driver who found Haun and alerted police to his body, as well as video of another car, which they are examining.
“There’s just no reason why everybody should be keeping everything secret,” Preston Haun said. “They’re going to get caught, they always do. It’s better to come out now, explain what happened and go from there. Somebody took somebody`s life, and everybody has to suffer. Just not us, their families are going to have to suffer now, too.”