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Hiker disappears in the hills of Garfield County

The last communication from 32-year-old Austin Mad­sen was a video of the snowy mountains near Antimony on Friday, January 27 - his family hasn't heard from him since and search and rescue opera­tions are underway in the area. According to Madsen’s family, he was headed south through Garfield toward Kanab, plan­ning on going through to Arizona, but there has been no word of his arrival in the Kanab area. Madsen is from Mapleton, Utah, where his wife Emily filed a missing persons report for him on January 28.

Left to right:

  • Thirty-two year old Austin Madsen has been missing in Garfield County since January 27. Photo courtesy of Emily Madsen, via social media.

  • Austin Madsen and his wife Emily, courtesy of Austin’s social media.

Mapleton Police were able to get a cell phone ping from Madsen’s phone to get a gen­eral area, with which Garfield County authorities identified the local topography in the aforementioned video. Mad­sen’s truck was located in the Dry Hollow area of Mount Dut­ton, with footprints marking a looping hiking trail to and from the vehicle. According to Joe Adams of Garfield County’s Search and Rescue, “We know Austin had snow shoes and a sled as he made his way toward the summit of Dutton by his tracks, and the only tracks we found were essentially a loop up toward the summit then back to his vehicle … our sheriff and deputies were out there in sub-zero temperatures and heavy wind, so we had to suspend the search around 2 a.m., [on January 31.] Star- 9, the Department of Public Safety helicopter, went out on the thirty-first and walked us in so we could flag his tracks without diluting them with the prints of twenty plus search­ers.” Given the results of the search, Adams stated it is possible Madsen followed his own vehicle tracks back off the mountain back toward the An­timony area. There were many footprints near the access point to the mountain from the main road - to the point that it was impossible to distinguish if any of them were Madsen’s.

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In an interview with KSL, Madsen’s father Aron stated, “He just wanted to leave Maple­ton to get away and clear his head, and was heading to Ari­zona south of Kanab, but some­thing distracted him and took him to Mount Dutton, until he got his truck stuck in the snow.” According to Aron, Austin “can find resources and ways to survive.” Emily Madsen has been utilizing social media to keep up the details of the search, and friends of the fam­ily Amy Gunnuscio and Phebe Rose have both offered their respective Facebook accounts for reports if anyone has seen or heard from Austin. Multiple Search and Rescue authorities stated that it is possible, even likely, that Austin made it off Mount Dutton, and reports from his family cited mental health issues in the past that may indicate a current crisis. If any readers have information that may help locate Austin, they are encouraged to contact local authorities for investiga­tion. Emily Madsen shared this appeal on her Facebook page, “Let’s bring my Austin home safe with our family. Thank you all for your love and for being so helpful. God bless you all.”

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