An extensive volunteer search for a young Lovell man missing since last Wednesday, Nov. 29, has continued this week in the hills adjacent to Logan, Utah.
Kyle Burton, 18, a 2017 graduate of Lovell High School, was reported missing late Wednesday after failing to return to his grandmother’s home in River Heights, Utah, in the Logan area. Burton is an avid hiker, so searchers have been scouring the foothills, canyons and trails in the Logan area for the past week.
Kyle is the son of Gerry and Ashlee Burton of Lovell, and his grandfather, John Hyde of Lovell, said the couple immediately left for Logan after learning of their son’s disappearance Wednesday afternoon, driving all night to Utah. Kyle had been staying at his “Grandmother Burton’s” home, Hyde said.
Hyde said Kyle left the house on foot sometime before noon on Wednesday.
“He had the habit of hiking in the hills around Logan,” Hyde said. “He left the house and hasn’t been seen since.”
Hyde said a search was initiated Thursday and over the next several days “literally hundreds of people came out to search the hills where he was presumed to have gone.”
Hyde said search and rescue volunteers searched in a mile and a half radius of the house, as well as the hills, trails and canyons in the area.
“Kyle had a very good knowledge of those hills and trails between Logan and Providence canyons,” Hyde said. “It was assumed he went out for a hike.”
“We’re not exactly sure what happened,” said Lt. Brian Locke of the Cache County Sheriff’s Dept. “A lot of times we have a point where a person was last seen but no other information. This is one of those cases.”
He added that Burton liked to hike and was in good shape, noting that the young man could travel a fair distance on any of the nearby hiking trails.
Locke said a helicopter search of the area took place on Friday, Dec. 1, and the search area included urban areas, nearby mountain areas, canyons, common hiking trails and a river that runs through the community.
Sheriff’s deputies, search and rescue teams with dogs, volunteers and family members searched the same areas again on foot Saturday, Locke said, noting that the search of urban areas included going door to door as well as searching fields, wooded areas and nearby agricultural areas. Hyde added that the Drone Club of Utah State University put eyes in the sky, as well, and flyers were placed around the community.
“Hundreds of people came out and spent their weekend searching,” Hyde said. “And the end result was nothing, no indication.”
With nothing more to go on, the sheriff’s department discontinued their official search after Saturday, Locke said, although friends, family members and volunteers continued to search through the weekend.
“What’s so hard is we don’t know where to look,” Locke said. “No one seems to have had contact with him, and there are no clues. We have no idea of his state of mind or where he may be headed.
“We are very dedicated to finding him, but we are in a holding pattern until we get more leads.”
“They exhausted their leads and had nowhere to go,” Hyde added.
Volunteers continued to search Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, even after a major snowstorm dumped 10 to 12 inches of snow on the area Sunday night.
“It was inspiring to see all of the people looking for Kyle,” Hyde said. “They were still searching today (Tuesday) and will continue to search. The family remains hopeful that everything will turn out well.
“There are no signs of him. We have no idea what happened. He has very good knowledge of those hills and trails between Logan Canyon and Providence Canyon. It was assumed he went out for a hike.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Cache County Sheriff’s Dept. in Logan at 435-753-7555. A BOLO (be on the lookout) notice has been issued, and local law enforcement in Big Horn County has been notified, as well.
A Facebook page entitled Kyle Burton Search Party has been established and contains the latest updates on areas searched, equipment and resources needed and other information, including maps of search areas and patterns. One poster on Tuesday said she had searched a particular trail using snowshoes.
“The family will continue to search as long as they need to,” Hyde said. “Words cannot express our thanks for the outpouring of help, well-wishes and support. It is really, really inspiring. Our attitude is to continue looking as the situation allows and to remain optimistic.”
By David Peck
(Patti Carpenter contributed to this story.)