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Human remains found near Townsend’s abandoned vehicle

On Monday, May 27, 2024, Kane County Sheriff’s Office received a tip from an individual who was riding their ATV in the Duck Creek Ridge area about some clothing they had located on the side of a road. The individual was familiar with the Townsend case and thought the clothing might be important.



The car Courtney Townsend was driving was discovered burned in Kane County in November 2023. Photo courtesy of Christina Whited.


Detectives and deputies from Kane County Sheriff’s Office, (KCSO), responded to the area. The investigation indicated the presence of human remains with the clothing. The KCSO staff was joined by Kane County Search and Rescue members, including dogs trained in location of human remains. Additional remains were located in area around the clothing. Evidence on scene leads investigators to believe the remains are those of Courtney Townsend. The remains will be transferred to the custody of the Utah State Medical Examiner’s office for further investigation and identification.


The vehicle Courtney was driving was located in Kane County on November 19, 2023, in the forest south of Duck Creek. The vehicle appeared to be stuck on some rocks and had burned. The car was traced back to her mother who had reported the car stolen to the St. George Police Department, (SGPD), on November 16, 2023. Courtney’s mother filed a missing persons report with St. George Police on December 2, 2023. Investigators from KCSO and SGPD have worked closely on the case over the last 6 months. Search efforts were hampered because of snow fall and a ground search was not possible until Early May when the snow had melted sufficiently.


The Kane County Sheriff’s Office, St. George Police and the Utah Medical Examiner’s Office are actively continuing the investigation.



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