The case of Rex L. Maughan, the West Bountiful religious and civic leader found in southern Utah after disappearing for nine days, is closed, police officials say.
Maughan disappeared at 6 a.m. June 9 after leaving a church camp in Morgan County. Law enforcement officials and volunteers mounted a massive ground and air search for him, fearing his truck had gone off the road in the rugged terrain or, perhaps, that he had been a victim of foul play.He was found Saturday living outside Summit, a small town on I-15 about 10 miles north of Cedar City, where he'd rented a trailer and taken a job in a nearby truck stop.
Maughan, bishop of West Bountiful's 2nd Ward and a former city councilman, was still using the truck he's driven from the church camp and his real name, according to police officials, and was apparently unaware of the search his disappearance set off.
A Job Service official in Iron County, seeing stories about Maughan's disappearance carried by the news media, tipped off local law enforcement officials.
West Bountiful Police Chief Wayne Jeppson, who spearheaded the search effort along with Morgan County Sheriff Bert Holbrook, went to Summit early Saturday morning, accompainied by one of Maughan's sons.
"He was under stress, just felt he was at the end of his rope and that he had to get away for awhile," said Jeppson. "And that town's the place to do it. It's pretty small and quiet."
Jeppson said Maughan returned Sunday to his family in West Bountiful, but Jeppson doesn't know if Muaghan is still there or will remain in town.
"As far as we're concerned, the case is closed. He was missing. We found him. There's no foul play or crime involved. We determined he's not a threat to himself or anyone else, so we're out of it now," said the police chief.
Holbrook said much the same thing, expressing relief that Maughan was found unharmed. "I'm pleased he's alive and well, and I hope he can get his problems worked out, whatever they are."
Holbrook estimated about $5,000 worth of manpower, manhours, and equipment time was expended in his county on the search, a figure Jeppson also came up with for his agency.
"Somebody asked me about restitution, about billing the responsible party for the search costs, the other day, and I hadn't thought about it," said Holbrook. "It's never come up in my 25 years in law enforcement, and I don't believe it will.
Jeppson also said no charges or reimbursement requests from West Bountiful are contemplated in the incident. "No crime was committed, and we have no plans to ask for reimbursement," the chief said.