LAYTON, Utah (ABC4) – When Sophia Lower told her family she was headed to Randolph, they never realized it would be the last time they ever heard from her.
Now they’re seeking answers as to why her body was found west of Randolph.
“My little sister was vivacious and made friends with nearly everybody that she was acquainted with,” recalled her sister Veronica Bair.
But about five years ago Lower changed. This is according to her older sister.
At 17-years-old, she met a man twice her age.
“We were all horrified,” said Bair. “We were all hoping that it would just fizzle out. She graduated from high school but she really didn’t care about anything anymore. Her whole life was absorbed in this guy.”
From that point on, drugs, alcohol, and isolation from the family became Lower’s way of life.
Last February, she left for Randolph in Rich County. Lower left with friends but by that time her 44-year-old boyfriend was out of the picture.
“She was going to go up there with some friends and she really didn’t say anything,” said Bair. “There wasn’t a long-term plan. She just said she was going to go up there and hang out. So we didn’t think she was going to be up there for very long.”
Days turned into weeks and phone calls from her mother were never returned. Messenger on Facebook became idle. No one had heard from her.
“My mom had said ‘please keep in touch with me.'” Bair said. “So, my mom was really trying to hound her to stay in contact with her and when it had been a little too long for comfort is when my mom went to the police.”
They filed a missing person report with Layton police but still, there was no sign of her. But Bair said that wasn’t productive.
Then in late March, teens riding ATVs near Bear Lake found a female body.
About two weeks later, authorities in Rich County identified the remains as belonging to Lower. The cause of her death remains unknown.
“It’s still a pending investigation,” Bair said. They’re doing everything that they can.”
This week, a man who was a friend of Lower’s one-time boyfriend was jailed on burglary charges.
But according to a probable cause statement filed by detectives, the man is “a possible suspect for a homicide in Rich County.”
The sheriff in Rich County did not return our requests for comment. Her sister is unaware of the arrest.
Meanwhile, Sophia Lower was cremated and after five-turbulent years, she’s back home in Layton.
“Now my sister is with my mom forever,” Bair said. “There’s a little piece of comfort knowing that she’s safe at home.
Late Wednesday, the deputy county attorney for Rich County emailed ABC4.
Deputy Tony Baird said in an email: “There really isn’t anything I can add at this point without potentially compromising the investigation. I’m sure that you understand. I would be happy to chat with you in the future if things change.”