Mystery • Acting on tip, SLC police search gully but find no sign of teen missing since 1964.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Salt Lake City police searched an east-side gully with shovels and a backhoe Saturday while family members waited nearby to see if they would find answers to 48 years of questions.
The gully, near 1900 East and 1400 South, was cordoned off as police searched for remains of Reed Jeppson, who disappeared in 1964 at the age of 15 from his home, located a half-block away.
But after hours of searching, nothing turned up.
According to a description on the police department's cold case website, Jeppson and his family returned from church to their house at 1951 Browning Ave. on Sunday, Oct. 11, 1964. Jeppson left the house shortly after to feed his two German shorthaired pointers, but neither Jeppson nor the dogs were ever seen again.
He is described as 5-foot-6 inches, 140 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes. He also had dental braces.
Salt Lake City police Detective Josh Ashdown said police received new information that led them to conduct Saturday's search, but he declined to give specifics about the tip.
Searchers focused on a particular area of the gully, which is near Clayton Middle School, after cadaver dogs showed some interest in that area.
After digging 8 feet down, the dogs stopped indicating there was anything to dig for, Ashdown said. At that point, police said they were giving up on searching the area.
Suzanne Tate, who is Reed Jeppson's older sister, told news reporters she remains hopeful and wonders what her little brother went through.
"We'll keep searching until we find him. You don't find someone if you stop looking," Tate said, on the verge of tears.
Someone knows what happened to her brother, Tate said, and she implored whoever that is to "just tell us."
Corey Thurgood lives in the neighborhood and went to junior high school with one of Jeppson's relatives, and he remembers the case. Thurgood was standing outside the police tape Saturday morning, recalling how children have played in and around the gully for decades. "This isn't some remote spot," Thurgood said.
Ashdown said the police do not intend to return. Still, they are always hoping someone in the neighborhood might remember a detail and call.
"Our department never gives up on a case," Ashdown added.
The police reopened Jeppson's case two years ago on National Missing Children's Day. The teen is one of their three oldest unsolved missing-child cases.