Tip from deer spotter led to body of BYU student on Y mountain
PROVO — Tyler Mayle's body was brought down off Y Mountain around noon Thursday, as police continue to investigate the 22-year-old BYU student's death.
"Right now, the No. 1 priority is investigating the scene," Provo Police Lt. Mathew Siufanua said. "You have to look at a lot. We're looking at where we found Tyler. We also have to look at possibly where he fell from. Was it at the top of the mountain? A ledge where he got stuck? There's a million things to look at in these situations."
Mayle was hiking on Y Mountain around 11:30 a.m. Saturday. He was reported missing Tuesday and his body was located near the base of a sheer, 60-foot cliff near Eagle Pass around 9 p.m. Wednesday.
The area is often used by climbers, but they have to leave a path to find their way out of the thick brush, shrubs and trees to get back to the well-worn trail marked with several signs urging hikers not to stray.
Siufanua said a man called police Wednesday night and said he had been spotting for deer around 8:40 p.m. Saturday and had seen someone rock climbing in the area, and he wondered whether it could be the missing BYU student. Based on his report, search and rescue crews were moved to that area and scaled down the cliff, locating Mayle's body at the bottom.
Siufanua said the cliff is some distance from the Y trail and, while accessible, requires "a heavy climb" to be reached. Still, it's an area with which officials are familiar.
"It's off the beaten path, but people get in trouble up there all the time," Siufanua said. "Every single year we either have individuals lost, stuck or, heaven forbid, they fall, and so it is an area that students go up and climb quite a bit."
Siufanua said Mayle's family, who arrived from Windsor, Colo., on Tuesday, struggled with the news of his death, but have been "fabulous" in their commitment to their son and the search effort. Siufanua said they were at the mountain again Thursday and weren't planning to leave until their son's body was recovered.
Mayle's body will be transported to the Utah Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.
Mayle, a BYU junior studying communication and political science, was familiar with the outdoors and with the area, according to family members. Still, police said his death was a reminder of necessary safety precautions.
"When you go up into these mountains, you have to be prepared," Siufanua said. "One of those things you can do is to have a good plan. Plan by telling someone where you're going. I would even say, 'This is exactly where I'm going, and I want to be home at this time.' Take good communications with you, so if you get stuck up there, you can actually call someone to come get you. Take a friend with you. Take water and food with you to last a day or so in case you get stuck up there and need sustenance."
Mayle had a cellphone and a hydration pack with him when he left for the hike Saturday.
Mayle's friends and family gathered near the hiking trail Wednesday evening in support and remembrance. Several of Mayle's former LDS Church mission companions were present, as were some of those who played with Mayle in the BYU marching band.
"When you're in the same section together, you just bond," said Amanda Berg, a fellow student and marching band member. "He always knew how to make everyone laugh."
A few days before news of Mayle's disappearance, Berg said she felt prompted to write a version of the hymn, "God Be with You Till We Meet Again" for the French horn.
"I found out (Tuesday) he was missing, and I was like, 'This is why I needed to write that piece,'" she said.
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