UTAH

Family members of John E. Booth located

Jan 6, 2022, 1:26 PM | Updated: 7:31 pm
remains found...
ID card photo of John Everett Booth, the man to whom remains found near Utah Lake possibly belong. Photo: Utah County Sheriff's Office

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — A Utahn found human bones and an ID card near the shore of Utah Lake. Now, Utah County officials request help. Do the remains belong to the man on the ID card, John Everett Booth?

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office attempted to find relatives of a man who likely died near the shores of Utah Lake over 20 years ago.

An ID card found with the remains belonged to a man named John Everett Booth. If Booth was still alive today, he would be 75 years old. So far, police can’t find anyone who knows the man.

Why weren’t the remains found sooner?

The man’s remains were discovered in October 2021 near Geneva road between Provo and Orem.

Investigators said that until 2018 the area where the bones and personal items were found was covered with phragmites, an invasive perennial grass.

Phragmites, an invasive grass that grows in wetlands. Photo: Canva

Besides Geneva Rd., the lake and lake shore, phragmites blanketed the area. In 2018, officials with the State of Utah cut down and removed the grass which stood from 6 to 8 feet tall.

Along with the bones, police found torn and aged clothing, ID, UTA Reduced Fare, food stamps, and Smith’s cards, an analog watch, and a “Winner” brand shoe. Based on the condition of the items, investigators estimate they’d been in the same spot for 23 years. 

What do investigators know?

Although evidence and condition indicate the remains belong to Booth, the Medical Examiner has been unable to positively identify them.

Investigators have reached out to several agencies to gather records and information, and piece together a more complete picture of the man. They checked with businesses, medical and mental health providers, law enforcement agencies, Utah Transit Authority, and the State of Utah. 

Booth was most recently booked into jail in November of 1995. His Utah ID card was issued in 1999.

Regardless of these efforts, officials reported that they haven’t found anyone who knew or ever had contact with this man. They ask anyone has information about him to contact Detective Greg Sherwood at (801)851-4026 or (801)851-4010.

UPDATE: 

Family members of Booth have been found. The Utah County Sheriff’s Department will work with the Medical Examiners office to further identify the remains, which could take a few months. 

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Family members of John E. Booth located