"I was just in bed and decided just out of nowhere that I needed to go search for unidentified bodies in South Carolina," Campbell said. All it took was a Google search and a few clicks and she found what her family had been seeking for several years.
Her father had even visited the same website earlier. But this time, after looking at an artist's facial reconstruction of what investigators believed the victim looked like, "I already felt like I knew it was him," she said.
When the family saw pictures of the backpack and clothing the unidentified victim was found with, they pulled up old pictures of him. "Right away I saw the belt, and later we saw the backpack, and it was clearly the same clothes," Campbell said.
The weave belt was what ultimately convinced Campbell that she had found her brother.
"I called the number on the website right at that moment, even though it was 12 a.m. by then, even later in South Carolina, and I didn’t expect anyone to answer. I barely finished leaving my message before I started sobbing. I had found Daniel. I couldn’t believe that I had actually found Daniel — and that he had been dead for almost three years," she wrote on her blog.
The family contacted South Carolina authorities, who were very helpful, Campbell said. Over the next few days, Daniel Swindler's dental records from Utah were sent to South Carolina. On Monday, they received word that the records matched.
Because Daniel Swindler was found with only a light backpack, his family believes he may have been out on a day hike. The most likely scenario is that he got injured while hiking or drowned, his family said.
On her blog, Campbell described her brother as someone who valued freedom and privacy and did not like taking his medication because of the effects it had on his energy. He would also try to distance himself from his loved ones when he was going through hard times.
In a letter he wrote to his sister several years ago, Swindler described what he called a "mountainous illness" that he has had to deal with.
Campbell said the family is now working to have her brother's remains returned to Utah so he can be laid to rest next to his mother. The family is also hoping that the incident may raise awareness that leads to a better way of family members finding their missing loved ones.
"We have so much technology now, why can't we match up a missing person from one state with unidentified remains from another state?" Joe Swindler asked.
Contributing: Ashley Kewish
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