Missing in Utah: The search for two friends who vanished in 1985

Missing In Utah
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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – It’s now over 36 years and counting for two families.

“I was praying that he’s done there and that they can find him and be able to give him to us,” said Thunder Alexander.

She and her daughter were watching along a turnoff near the reservoir at East Canyon state park. Far below were two members of the Utah Cold Case Coalition. They were using an underwater camera looking for two young friends who disappeared in 1985.

14-year old Michael Lloyd Reese and 21-year old David Jaramillo, both from Salt Lake City, suddenly vanished that day in June.

In 1985, Reese lived near 170 E. and 1700 S. in Salt Lake City. Thunder Alexander said her mother was gone, but he was given permission to leave with his friend to the reservoir.

Alexander was seven-years old and begged Lloyd not to go. He placated her and their younger brother by buying them a candy bar.

“He looked at me and said ‘Thunder I will be back,'” she recalled. “And I said ‘don’t leave, don’t leave’ and he said ‘before you even know it, I will be back. I promise.”

But he never kept that promise. Reese and Jaramillo were to meet friends at a camping site at the East Canyon reservoir in the Wasatch mountains.

It was 30-days before police were notified by Jaramillo’s brother.

“I know it never set well with me that my mom didn’t report them missing,” said Alexander.

She said she tried to make a report twice, but police wouldn’t accept it because she was too young.

According to a Salt Lake police report, towards sundown, Jaramillo and Reese “left in a brown Datsun B210” and headed back to Salt Lake.

A man who was fishing saw the “boys drinking” during their time at the dam, according to the police report.

It’s possible they missed a turn and went into water. Authorities claimed the “reservoir had been searched three or four times” and concluded there is “no car in the reservoir.”

There were rumors the boys left for California, but there was no evidence of that. There was no history of their social security numbers being used and family bank accounts showed no sign of being tampered with by the two friends.

Later that year, Reese’s mother received a strange call claiming it was her son, but she told police it didn’t sound like him. Salt Lake City police considered them “missing.”

25-years later, police notified the parents that they planned to re-investigate the case of the missing boys. Reese’s mother was excited about that development.

“It’s been hard,” said Marsha Clark in 2010. “It’s been really, really hard. We’re worried about him. We’ve prayed a lot for him.”

Back then, David’s brother Paul Jaramillo knew he didn’t run away because he said David loved his family too much to stay away for so long.

“Whether it’s good or bad, we just want some closure,” Jaramillo told ABC4 in 2010.

But the investigation went nowhere and to date, the families still have no answers.

And that’s what brought members of the Utah Cold Case Coalition to the reservoir last Wednesday.

“We think it’s a good possibility they could have just gone off the roadway, into the water,” said Karra Porter. “While the water is this low, now is the time to look.” Wednesday as the story continues, a closer look underneath the waters of the East Canyon reservoir.

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