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A truck and the bodies of three Vernal men reported missing nearly a month ago were recovered from the Green River in Uintah County on Wednesday morning, police reported.
The vehicle matched the description of the pickup truck carrying 33-year-old Robert Alan Spoon, 33-year-old Jason Ralph Tilt and 29-year-old Jacob Douglas Tilt when they were last seen May 22, Uintah County Sheriff Vance Norton said.
Authorities were confident that the three bodies inside were those of the missing men, Norton said.
Searchers pulled the truck from the water a quarter-mile south of Jensen about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Family members, worried that the men may have turned off their cellphones or that their phone batteries may have died, reported the men missing May 26 and circulated fliers on social media with the men's pictures.
And it was Spoon's father who broke the case open, Norton said, after recently finding a boot and a headlight that had washed up on the riverbank.
"That inspired our guys to get down there with a sonar boat," Norton said.
Searchers located what they thought could be a vehicle underwater earlier this month, Norton said, but it took a while to confirm due to high snowmelt flows on the Green River.
Divers were unable to check out the object until flows were momentarily reduced from Flaming Gorge Reservoir, starting Tuesday night, he said.
Investigators moved the truck to an "undisclosed location," a Uintah County Sheriff's Office news release said. They are trying to determine the cause and manner in which the truck left the roadway. The bodies were being transported to the state medical examiner's office for autopsies.
Norton said one possibility police were examining was whether the truck may have swerved for deer, which tend to gather near the water in that area.
Norton thanked family members and community members for assisting in the search and calling in leads. A local business owner allowed police to use his crane free of charge to pull the truck from the water, the sheriff said.
"We're hoping the families can now start to heal," he said.