MAGNA — Police on Thursday were investigating the the discovery of a body found a short distance from I-80 a few miles northwest of Magna and have said suicide has been ruled out as a possibility.
Two friends were walking in the area about 5 p.m. when they spotted the body a few hundred yards from the intersection of the North Temple Frontage Road, which runs parallel with the freeway, and 9800 West, according to Unified police.
Investigators believe the body is an adult male, but didn't immediately give any other descriptive information or say how long it may have been there. The man had identifying documents with him and police believe they know who he is, but didn't release his name Thursday night pending notification of family members.
"There’s no obvious signs of what happened," Unified Police Lt. Lex Bell said. "There’s no vehicle here. The circumstances and location of the body are suspicious enough that we called out our homicide investigators to look into what happened."
Suicide was quickly ruled out as the cause of death, but it wasn't clear whether the man died as the result of homicide, an accident or natural causes, according to Bell. No weapon was found at the scene.
Police planned to investigate the challenging scene to look for footprints among any other evidence, he said.
"It’s challenging, because we’ve got snow, we’ve got mud, we’ve got dirt that we’ve got to analyze before we walk out to where the body is located," he said. "We’ve got to cover our boots and do some different things in order to get out there without disturbing the scene, so it will be quite a project."
Shylo Gottling said she and a friend were walking in the area and were about to go on a shooting trip when they came across the body. At first she thought it might be a mannequin, she said, but she approached the body and was shocked to find it was a real person.
"I didn't know what to do. I was so scared. I was just speechless. I just stood there in shock for a moment," Gottling said. "My tears just welled up and I just whipped out my phone really quick and called 911 right away. And (I) had trouble speaking because I was shaking and crying."
Gottling said the man whose body she discovered had a visible wound on his right cheek. Bell couldn't confirm whether the was the case.
Contributing: Andrew Adams