As weather forced law enforcement officials to hold off searching for the graves of three girls murdered by Ted Bundy, a private citizen found animal bones in the vicinity where the killer claimed to have buried one of his victims.
"The bones were not human", said Carbon County deputy sherrif Mike Martinez. They are likely those of a small dog or coyote. "Three leg bones gave that away," he said."We got a call from a guy who was out looking for her bones. Just what we don't want," said Martinez, referring to the body of Sue Curtis, 15, Bountiful, who disappeared from a Brigham Young University youth conference June 28, 1975.
Carbon County officials urged the public to stay out of the area.
Martinez said the bones were located close to but not actually in the area where it is believed Bundy buried the Curtis body. Less than an hour before he was executed, Bundy confessed to the killing and gave general directions to the grave site to the Florida State prison warden.
Law enforcement officers scouted the area 10 miles south of Price Friday but were faced with the snow and frozen ground that will prevent them from continuing the search until temperatures begin to climb and the snow melts.
Saturday, a Bountiful police officer visited a central Utah site where Debi Kent - another of Bundy's victims - is supposedly buried, but he was confronted by the same weather barriers that searchers looking for the bodies of Curtis and Nancy Wilcox met Friday.
"We sent a man down to scout the area and that's all we can do for now," said Bountiful Police Chief Larry Higgins, who is coordinating the search for the body of the 17-year-old girl, who disappeared from Bountiful's Viewmont High School on Nov. 8, 1974.
Sgt. Ira Beal spent much of the day looking over a stretch of U.S. 89 midway between Fairview and Mt. Pleasant in Sanpete County. Two days before he was executed, Bundy confessed to Salt Lake County Sheriff's detective Dennis Couch that he had killed Kent and buried her body in that area. Higgins said Bundy provided more details about the grave site, but he would not release that information.
The Bountiful chief said officials in Sanpete County will keep him updated on the snow conditions in the area. "We'll be in contact with them, and I'm sure they'll keep us advised," he said.
Wayne County officials have made the same promise to Salt Lake County Sheriff Pete Hayward.
An initial search Friday in the Capitol Reef National Park area for the body of Wilcox, 16, of Holladay, who disappeared Oct. 2, 1974, gave law enforcement officials confidence they are looking in the right area, but excessive snow will prevent authorities from conducting any further searches for now.
"As soon as the weather permits and ground conditions permit, we'll start searching," Hayward said. "We've got a lot of people eager to get out there and look."