Photo by Kimberly Bojorquez
The body of Elizabeth Elena Laguna-Salgado, a Provo woman who disappeared under suspicious circumstances in 2015, was discovered in Hobble Creek Canyon the morning of May 18.
Three weeks after arriving to Provo from Mexico to further her education, Salgado, 26, was last seen the afternoon of April 16, 2015, walking home after leaving the Nomen Global Language Center in Provo.
At a news conference in Spanish Fork May 24, investigators classified the case as a homicide investigation under “suspicious circumstances”.
“The investigation of Elizabeth’s disappearance has now turned into an investigation into the cause and matter of her death,” said Provo Police Chief Rich Ferguson.
Currently, investigators have no suspects but persons of interests.
Her body was found 15 miles from where she was last seen by a man who said he found what he believed were human remains. The man was in the area because he pulled over to urinate. Upon discovering a skull and clothing, he called the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
“We will be following up and analyzing the evidence that we have collected,” said Utah County Sheriff Jim Tracy.
Investigators worked Friday and Saturday to collect evidence from the area.
According to Tracy, the remains looked like they had been in the location for quite some time and had been exposed to several elements.
“The medical examiner will continue working to determine the cause and manner of her death,” according to a statement released by investigators.
The remains were identified by a medical examiner and an anthropologist in Taylorsville where following an autopsy and examination of the bones and teeth, they were able to identify the body as Salgado’s.
“This is not how we had hoped this would turn out,” said Ferguson.
A few members of her family were notified by investigators yesterday night. At this point, not all of her family members have been contacted as some live in remote areas of Mexico.
“She couldn’t have known too many people after being here for three weeks,” said Ferguson.
Hobble Creek Canyon is accessed through Springville and it is a popular attraction for hikers and campers during the summer.
Spencer Canon, the public information officer of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, said he would not release the specific area of where Salgado’s remains were found, but said the area was not very visible.
“This investigation is not finished,” said Ferguson. Members of the police department are dedicated to uncovering the facts around her disappearance, he added.
This is a developing story.
Kimberly Bojórquez is a Los Angeles native currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Communication with an emphasis in journalism, and a minor in Latin American Studies. From 2017-18 she served as the editor-in-chief of the UVU Review and worked at ABC4’s morning show “Good Things Utah”, Salt Lake City Weekly and the Daily Herald.
She has written stories that relate to national issues, local crime and social justice. In her spare time, she loves to take photos, hike Utah’s national parks and attend live rock concerts.