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Wyoming detectives seek help in probe of Utah officer's suicide

His body was found in Wyoming, shot in head

Published: Tuesday, March 26 2013 9:50 p.m. MDT

Michael Valdes is shown in two photos released by the Sweetwater County (Wyo.) Sheriff's Office as part of its investigation into the West Valley police officer's March 21, 2013, suicide near Green River, Wyo.

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ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. — Investigators are seeking the public's help as they try to piece together the final hours of Michael Valdes' life before the West Valley police officer committed suicide.

Valdes was last seen by his wife on March 19 between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., when he told her he was heading to work. But he never arrived, and was reported missing to the West Jordan Police Department.

Two days later officers were dispatched to the I-80 tunnels near Green River, Wyo., around 10 p.m. and found Valdes, 37, in his vehicle following a single-vehicle crash, Sweetwater County sheriff's detective Dick Blust Jr. said.

Authorities determined that Valdes died as a result of a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. A Glock semiautomatic pistol was found in Valdes' vehicle, Blust said.

"There's no indication of foul play," Blust said Tuesday when asked whether the plea for the public's help signaled a shift in the sheriff's office investigation.

"We're just trying to fill in the blanks in the last 48 hours of his life," the detective said. "We have a couple leads that put him in Rock Springs for a time."

Valdes was 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighed about 180 pounds and had black hair and brown eyes. He was driving a black 2006 Infiniti SUV, with Utah license plate B975SJ.

Anyone who may have seen Valdes or his vehicle is asked to call the sheriff's office at 307-922-5296.

Geoff Liesik, Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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