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West Valley City police officer has been missing since Tuesday

Published: Thursday, March 21 2013 7:30 p.m. MDT

West Valley City police officer Michael Valdes, 37, has been missing since he failed to show up for work Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Valdes was last seen driving a black 2006 Infiniti QX56 SUV.

WEST JORDAN — Police here are asking the public for help locating a West Valley City police officer who went missing earlier this week.

Michael Valdes, of West Jordan, was last seen between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday when he left his home for work. Valdes, who has been with the West Valley City Police Department for more than 12 years, didn't show up for work, police said.

West Jordan Police Chief Doug Diamond said the department has been working since Wednesday morning to determine whether Valdes left the area voluntarily.

Valdes is described as black, 6 feet 2 inches tall, with slender build. Diamond said. Police have not ruled out foul play.

"Anything is possible. We don't know," he said. "Officers of that stature have been kidnapped before or taken against their will. We're just trying to figure out exactly what happened."

West Valley City Police Sgt. Mike Powell said Valdes, who works in the patrol division, is a responsible, personable officer, and his unexpected departure is "not typical."

"For something of this nature to happen obviously has us concerned, and his family is very concerned," Powell said.

There is no indication that struggles at home, frustration or danger from his work as an officer, or threats contributed to Valdes' disappearance, which has both agencies worried, Powell said.

Valdes is a healthy, fit person who often enjoyed playing sports when he wasn't out on patrol, Powell said.  

The West Jordan Police Department is leading the investigation, with assistance from West Valley. 

At this point, Diamond said police don't have any leads on what happened that night. Valdeswas last seen driving a black 2006 Infiniti QX56 SUV, wearing dark pants, a dark blue hoodie with turquoise on it, and Nike basketball shoes. 

"I'm asking Mike, if he's out there, to call us and let us know what's going on," Diamond said. "I'm asking the public, if they've seen Mike, if they think they've seen Mike, to give us a call."

Anyone with information can call West Jordan police at 801-840-4000.

The West Valley City Police Department is currently under scrutiny as the district attorney and Salt Lake City police investigate evidentiary issues within the department tied to one officer. Credibility concerns led to the dismissal of 19 investigations led by the officer, who the Utah State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police identified as detective Shaun Cowley.

Powell said Valdes is not connected to the investigation into those 19 cases. 

E-mail: mromero@deseretnews.com, Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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