The Justice Files: In search of bodies of the deceased

Justice Files

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) –  They are out finding bodies.

Armed with a new technological device the Utah Cold Case Coalition is set to dig deeper in the many unsolved murders and crimes in the state.

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is often used by law enforcement to search for buried bodies, but it’s become more affordable for groups like the Cold Case Coalition.

“We are real excited to have it,” said coalition member Renee Van Tussenbrook.

A GPR machine offers ground penetrating radar and provides a read out of what it has discovered beneath the surface.

“It’s something we’re going to have to learn a lot more from,” said Van Tussenbrook. “But we’re going to try it out and see what happens.”

Friday was their inaugural test. They focused on searching for Kiplyn Davis who disappeared in 1995.

In 2011, Timmy Olsen pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. But he claimed someone else killed her and he helped move her body.   

Olsen and others, David Leifson who pleaded guilty to lying to a grand jury refused to name the killer.

Olsen did tell investigators Davis was buried in Spanish Fork Canyon, but she was never found despite numerous searches.

Friday, the coalition focused on a new search location at a cemetery in Springville.  They chose that location based on a hunch.  Chad Daybell who is involved in a missing children’s case in Idaho once was a gravedigger at the same cemetery. 

Jason Jensen with the coalition said Kiplyn Davis’ family knew of Daybell.

During Friday’s GPR search Kiplyn’s sister, Karissa, and her husband watched with interest.

“Maybe there was a possibility that they put her body in one of these graves,” said Van Tussenbrook.  “You know with another person obviously.”

For now everyone will have to wait for the results.  The data collected will be sent to a lab for analysis.

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