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Investigators: Salgado disappearance is active homicide probe

SPANISH FORK — The Utah County sheriff and Provo police chief confirmed the probe into the death of Elizabeth Salgado, missing for more than three years, is now an active homicide investigation.

Utah County Sheriff James Tracy, Provo Police Chief Rich Ferguson and FBI Supervisory Special Agent Eric Lerohl address reporters, May 24, 2018, in Spanish Fork.

In a joint news conference at the Utah County Sheriff’s Office in Spanish Fork, Sheriff James Tracy said the remains found by a driver in Hobble Creek Canyon on Friday have been confirmed to be those of the 26-year-old woman, but they were not able to determine how she got there or how she died.

“Due to the length of exposure to the elements, her remains were not readily identified and were sent to the Medical Examiner’s office to have that process begin,” Tracy said, explaining that he would wait to hear from the anthropologist and medical examiner to find out more about Salgado’s death.

At several points, he deferred answering specific questions about the discovery of the remains by saying it was still a very active investigation.

Provo Police Chief Rich Ferguson offered his condolences to the Salgado family.

“This is not how we had hoped this would turn out,” he said, adding, “Let me be clear: this investigation is not finished. The members of the Provo Police Department are committed to working with our partners… to bring whoever is responsible for her death to justice.”

Investigators say the FBI has been assisting the sheriff’s department and local police with Salgado’s disappearance since 2015, and that assistance continues to this day. Tracy says the investigation would continue as a joint effort between his department, Provo police and the FBI.

CONTRIBUTING: Peter Samore, Randall Jeppesen and Becky Bruce