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Divers search reservoir on Ute reservation for evidence in homicide, sources say

Published: Friday, June 20 2014 2:21 p.m. MDT

Members of the Utah Department of Public Safety dive team search the waters of Bottle Hollow Reservoir on the Uintah-Ouray Indian Reservation on Friday, June 20, 2014. A DPS spokesman said the divers were assisting the FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs in a joint investigation, but declined to discuss the nature of that investigation.

Geoff Liesik, Deseret News

FORT DUCHESNE, Uintah County — The Utah Department of Public Safety dive team spent two days searching a reservoir on the Uintah-Ouray Indian Reservation, apparently looking for evidence in a federal homicide investigation.

Divers spent several hours Thursday and Friday working in the water along the eastern shore of Bottle Hollow Reservoir. The team was called in to assist the FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs in a joint investigation, according to DPS spokesman Dwayne Baird. He referred questions about the nature of that investigation to the FBI.

When contacted Friday, FBI spokesman Bill Facer reiterated the agency's long-standing policy of not offering comment on active investigations.

At least two DPS divers were seen entering the water Friday with metal detectors. They appeared to recover something from the water around noon, though it was unclear what the object was. The dive team, FBI agents and Bureau of Indian Affairs police left the reservoir without comment shortly after 12:30 p.m.

Several sources told the Deseret News the divers were looking for evidence in the shooting death of Evan Cuch. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, would not disclose what that evidence might be or why investigators believed they would find it in the reservoir.

Cuch, 23, was shot at least once during a June 11 confrontation between two groups in Fort Duchesne's Little Chicago subdivision. He died a short time later at Uintah Basin Medical Center in Roosevelt.

A teenager was treated for gunshot wounds at the hospital as well, sources told the Deseret News. A second teen was apparently grazed by a bullet and did not require treatment.

Federal investigators arrested Grant Hubert Checora in connection with the shooting. He is charged in Ute Tribal Court with criminal homicide and an aggravated weapons offense.

Checora, 21, is being held in the Duchesne County Jail on the tribal court charges. The FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs continue to investigate the case and are expected to present it to the U.S. Attorney's Office for possible prosecution in federal court.

This week's search marked the second time since the shooting that divers have entered Bottle Hollow looking for evidence. On June 13, divers with the Uintah County sheriff's search and rescue team searched the reservoir at the request of federal agents.

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com, Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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