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Medusa

The search for a missing Kearns couple is beginning to wind down after authorities in Utah and Nevada said they have exhausted nearly every possible lead.

"We don't have any more places to look," Lincoln County, Nev., Sheriff Kerry Lee told the Deseret Morning News after a meeting Tuesday afternoon with sheriffs from Beaver, Iron and Washington counties.

The sheriffs met with members of Tom and Tamitha Garner's family afterward. Gerald Garner, Tom's father, said they are not giving up.

"As a father, I would never give up hope," he told reporters, his voice breaking with emotion.

Where the couple has been remains a mystery.

"I really feel confident that what the agencies have done in their search would have turned something up by now," Garner said. "It leads me personally to believe there's either foul play involved, or we're just 100 miles away from where we need to be for whatever reason."

The Iron and Washington county sheriffs plan at least a couple of more aerial and ground searches in the vast wilderness along the Utah-Nevada border, to make sure there is nothing they have missed.

"There are still some areas we are going to search on the ground and from the air," Iron County Sheriff Mark Gower said Tuesday. "We're going to branch out into different areas looking at different options."

One of those options is the possibility the Garners met with foul play. Police plan to backtrack the days before the Garners disappeared, but barring any new developments, Lee said his search is likely over.

"Unless we have any new information that comes about regarding cell phones, credit cards or other sightings ... ," the sheriff said.

The Garners disappeared Jan. 26 after filling up their truck at a Panaca, Nev., gas station. They then drove onto state Route 56 into Utah, telling family members they were going out into the backcountry to photograph wild horses.

The search has frustrated police in both states because it appears the Garners simply vanished. Aerial searches with heat-sensing equipment have picked up no sign of them or their dog, Medusa. Gower said it's important to find that dog.

"Out in this area, look for that dog," he said. "If the dog's found that will focus this search."

The weather has been brutal, with snowstorms pounding the area. Dirt has turned to mud, covered with ice and then snow. Searchers say it is easy to get stuck there.

Garner said he also has tried to discourage family and friends from searching because of the danger, even though another search is likely planned for this weekend.

"The family is not giving up," he said. "It's like I told the sheriffs. I hope it's nothing more (than) he's in a place where he's able to get to a remote cabin, and they're having a romantic interlude at my expense."

The exhaustive search for the Garners is believed to have contributed to the death of a volunteer searcher for the Iron County Search and Rescue team. On Saturday, Leroy Davenport became stuck in the snow and exerted himself trying to get out. After going home complaining of not feeling well, the Iron County Sheriff's Office said Davenport, 37, died early Sunday morning.

An autopsy is now being conducted to determine an exact cause of death.

The Garners were last seen driving a gray 1999 Dodge Dakota truck, with a scorpion window sticker and Utah license plate 793 URF. Anyone with information is urged to call police.


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