AMERICAN FORK CANYON, Utah — Human remains found in American Fork Canyon Sunday may be those of missing woman Jerika Binks, according to the Utah County Sheriff's Office.
A 70-year old man hiking up an off-trail rocky ravine near the Swinging Bridge picnic site Sunday came upon the remains in terrain that Sergeant Spencer Cannon described as, "very difficult to get up. It's not a trail where people commonly go to go hiking."
"For whatever reason, this gentleman decided he wanted to go up this ravine," Cannon said. The chance hike led to possible answers for a family who has been searching and wondering for more than a year over what happened to Binks.
Once investigators and detectives reached the site of the remains late Sunday evening, 850 vertical feet up the canyon's rugged terrain, Sgt. Cannon indicated that they found items believed to belong to Binks along with the remains.
Binks disappeared on February 18, 2018 when she told her roommate at a Utah County treatment center that she was going for a run. Trail cameras picked her up as Binks ran down the Timpanogos Cave Trail, but that was the only sign of her.
An extensive search of the canyon by Utah County Search and Rescue turned up nothing.
The remains were found on the opposite side of the canyon where Binks was seen running past the trail cameras. Even so, Sgt. Cannon said Binks was a fit runner and hiker, and loved being outdoors.
"Based on what we know of her likes and her interests... it’s not a surprise," Sgt. Cannon said.
Sgt. Cannon said they do not suspect foul play, and that it would be extremely difficult for someone to place a body where the remains were found. They did find signs that the person who died was injured.
"That's a possibility, that there may have been a fall involved," Sgt. Cannon said.
Considering where the remains were located, Sergeant Cannon said the odds of finding them would have been "almost impossible" had it not been for the hiker.
The Sheriff's Office had to wait until Monday morning to recover the remains. The medical examiner will now determine the identity of the remains, and the cause of death.
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