A rash of dead bodies is taxing the Tooele County Sheriff’s office.
“We average about one unaccompanied death a month,” said Tooele Sheriff’s Detective Travis Scharmann. “But from March to may we have had 17. Tooele city has had about the same number not to mention the four or five found in Grantsville. We have never seen anything like this.”
According to the Tooele County Detective most of the unaccompanied deaths are suspected suicides or drug over doses.
“There really isn’t a pattern to any of this,” he added. “The economy is okay. And these aren’t teens involved in a suicide cult.”
Two weeks ago the wave hit Wendover with the suicide of William Matthew Richmond a 35 year old Salt Lake City man found on a hill facing the Wendover Catholic church.
“We received an attempt to locate and welfare check request from Salt Lake police on May 1st,” Scharmann said earlier this month. “Richmond was described by the reporting party as potentially harmful to himself. His body was found May 7th, dead from an apparent gunshot would. From the state of decomposition he could have been out there for three or four days, roughly at about the same time we were notified he was missing.
A few days later yet another body was discovered this time on the Nevada side of Wendover in the employee parking lot of the Montego Bay Casino. And this death struck the Tooele county sheriff’s office particularly hard.
Ron D. Matekel, 50, a former deputy of the department was found dead in his car alone on May 15. No cause of death has been released.
Matekel’s death did not make the Tooele County death statistic but Elko County’s. While Tooele’s neighbor has a much higher average unaccompanied death rate it has experienced no where near the upsurge in the last three months.
Averaging up to eight unaccompanied deaths per month Elko County has seen a small uptick this spring with 23 reported in the months of March and April.
“It is probably just a statical anomaly,” Scharmann added. “Hopefully it will drop in the coming months. The good news is that for the first time since March we have gone a whole week without a death at the end of May.”