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Sawed-off human remains found near the Wyoming border are those of a registered sex offender from Salt Lake City who had a penchant for wearing women's clothing.

The Summit County Sheriff's Office on Monday identified the dismembered victim as John D. Mayo. He would have turned 50 in September, though police say he probably died before his birthday.

Chief Deputy Dave Booth said detectives are treating the case as a homicide and are seeking two suspects they believe were involved. He declined to identify them but called the case "an active investigation with a lot of leads."

Investigators are not ruling out the possibility Mayo's death is related to his sexual history. Mayo was a known cross-dresser, and Booth said women's clothing was found on the man's body.

Mayo pleaded guilty in November 1991 to one count of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony. He was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison and was paroled in March 1995, according to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. He went back to prison twice for parole violations before being released for the last time in March 2001.

The mystery of his death began April 18 when a Union Pacific railroad employee checking on some track found a human hand. The sheriff's office, with assistance from other agencies and cadaver dogs, combed a seven-mile stretch of a frontage road parallel to Interstate 80's westbound lanes. The six-day search yielded another hand, a foot, a torso and many smaller body fragments.

The victim's head was not found, hampering efforts to identify him.

Booth said the remains appeared to have been sawed apart and were along the road for eight to 11 months.

Police identified Mayo after pathologists rehydrated Mayo's hand to produce fingerprints, then reconstructed his skeleton. Booth said pathologists are still examining the remains to determine a cause of death.

Investigators believe Mayo disappeared in May or early June 2004, Booth said.

Jack Ford of the Utah Department of Corrections said parole officers began seeking Mayo in June 2004. On June 18 of that year, parole authorities issued a fugitive warrant for his arrest. Booth said Mayo was never reported as a missing person.

Tom Turlington, who lived three doors from Mayo's last known address, recalled Mayo once visited him to compliment the fence Turlington was building.

"He was a nice enough guy," Turlington said.

In middle or late May 2004, Turlington said, Mayo's van and possessions were gone and he never saw the man again.

Details of Mayo's crime were not available Monday. The state's sex offender registry lists Mayo's targets as male and female minors.


Tribune reporter Stephen Hunt contributed to this story.