Teenager found dead in middle of road near Payson

Published: Saturday, July 13 2013 10:15 p.m. MDT

SALEM — Police are investigating the death of a 17-year-old found dead on a road in rural Utah County in what they said may be more than just a hit and run.

Police received a call from a woman who reported finding the body on her way back from work at 5:30 a.m. in the middle of the road at 2000 West Arrowhead Trail, according to Sgt. Spencer Cannon, public information officer for the Utah County Sheriff's Office. This area is east of I-15, between Salem and Payson.

"There was a significant amount of trauma, very extensive trauma from head to toe," Cannon said. "There was no chance of survival however this happened."

The victim was identified as Nathan Haun. Police originally said Haun was killed in an auto-pedestrian accident, but later said there may be more factors to his death.

"There's other things there that are telling us something else is going on," Cannon said.

Police would not yet say what those things were, but did say that "it's a little bit unusual. It's a little bit different of an accident scene than just your regular auto-pedestrian accident."

Haun's father, Preston, said there has already been talk about what happened to his son going around on social media. The rumors have included discussions that his son's death was not an accident.

"I've heard everything from an argument with a girl to alcohol being involved and people being stupid," Preston Haun said. "I don't know."

The woman who found Haun passed the area where he was found on her way to work at 2 a.m. and did not see anything until she returned. Because of this, police said they believe that the death occurred between 2 and 5:30 a.m.

Cannon said investigators believe Haun fell from a fast-moving vehicle, but don't know if the fall was intentional or accidental. An autopsy will determine whether Haun suffered any trauma before the fall from the vehicle.

"If it was an accident, he was pushed out of a car, why didn't someone dial 911, you know, or stop and give him CPR or anything like that?" Preston Haun asked.

During their investigations, police found a man walking on a road approximately a mile away from where they found the dead man. Investigators think he "had some interaction with the victim during the hours before the body was found." They are looking into what may have happened between the men.

Most of the Utah County Sheriff's investigative division are trying to locate and talk with other witnesses who were reported to be with the man Friday night, Cannon said.

"That's the hardest thing, is knowing that people know what happened," Preston Haun said.

Some of Nathan Haun's close friends said Saturday they didn't know who he had been with the night before.

"It was shocking to me," friend Samantha Acosta said of Haun's death. "I just started crying because he was a good friend. He was nice to everyone. I don't see how someone could do this to him."

Friend Shareen Chafsin said Haun was "loyal and just chill." Haun was also a budding artist who was getting his GED and hoping to go to art school.

His family, who said he was a typical teenager with lots of friends and who liked having fun, are just hoping that those who know what happened to Nathan Haun will come forward.

Email: wevans@deseretnews.com

Twitter: whitevs7

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