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Strawberry's gloomy count continues to rise
By Jason Bergreen
The Salt Lake Tribune
Published November 17, 2006 12:58 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
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About 90 feet below the surface of Strawberry Reservoir, cold, dark waters hide a macabre display of drowned boaters.

The dead have been resting there as long as 10 years. Authorities could never find the bodies - until now.

More than a week has gone by since searchers began looking for Steven and Catheryn Roundy, who disappeared after their boat sank Nov. 8. Searchers have pulled up three bodies from the reservoir in that time. The Roundys are not among them.

The decomposing remains of the third missing boater were pulled from the water Thursday.

Authorities are combing the 42-degree water with sonar and robotic technology they did not have access to in the past. They had no idea their search would recover as much as it has.

"Absolutely not," said Wasatch County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Todd Bonner. "We had no plan of locating any other bodies."

When the Roundys disappeared, they were fishing with Steven Roundy's brother and a friend. Kimball Roundy and Michael New were able to make it to the eastern shore. Steven and Catheryn were last seen swimming toward the marina to the west. They are presumed drowned.

The sonar on a Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) boat patrolling along an east-to-west grid line located a submerged vessel and the third body around noon just north of an area known as The Ladders.

A remote-controlled robot was then dispatched and retrieved the body.

"We don't know if it's male or female," Bonner said.

The body may be connected to a fishing expedition on Aug. 29, 1995, when three people in their teens and late 20s were caught in a windstorm, Bonner said. The boat sank, and none of the bodies was recovered.

Searchers on Wednesday also made a find in The Ladders - the body of a man that had been in the water for years. Bonner said the state medical examiner was conducting DNA tests on those remains to make an identification.

Bonner said the unidentified bodies may be connected to each other because of the proximity of their locations. "We feel like it's related," Bonner said.

Authorities are still trying to confirm the relationship, but family members of two of the men missing since 1995 were seen at the marina Thursday afternoon, Bonner said.

Last Friday, searchers found the body of 46-year-old Drake K. McMillan, a Salt Lake City man who disappeared on the reservoir in 2001.

With three bodies now located in the reservoir, police believe at least three more, including the Roundys, remain.

After McMillan's body was recovered, Wasatch County Sheriff's Capt. John Rogers said he suspected the new technology might help recover other drowning victims during this search.

A decade ago, search teams didn't have access to the sonar and robotic technology they have today. Back then, they relied on a 4-inch sonar screen, usually used to find fish, to search for the victims of the 1995 boat accident. Hooks were also hoisted into the water by boats and dragged along the reservoir floor in hopes of snagging a body and bringing it up.

DPS, which owns the sonar boat, and the Summit County Sheriff's Office, which owns the remote-controlled robot with a camera and an arm, have only been in possession of the technology for about 18 months, Bonner said.

Until the Roundys went missing, there was no reason to use the new technology. "We never had an opportunity to get it out," Bonner said.

Not even to hunt for the missing boaters they are just now beginning to find.

"In everybody's mind, we didn't really think the bodies would be there [because of decomposition]," Bonner said. ". . . We're fortunate enough to have them located."

Bonner said the Roundys' bodies are believed to be northwest of where the remains found Thursday were located.

The underwater robot used in the search was brought in for maintenance Thursday afternoon, and the search ended at 5 p.m. The search is expected to resume today.

jbergreen@sltrib.com

Strawberry body count

* Drake McMillan, who disappeared after jumping from a boat for a swim in August 2001, was found Nov. 11.

* An unidentified victim - believed to be Austin Lloyd, Daniel Maycock or Phillip Shepherd, missing since 1995 - was found Wednesday.

* An unidentified victim - believed to be one of the 1995 victims - was found Thursday.

* Three bodies are still believed to be at the bottom of the reservoir: One of the 1995 victims, and Steven and Catheryn Roundy, who disappeared after their small fishing boat sank Nov. 8.



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