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Remains found in American Fork Canyon confirmed as missing jogger

A missing person sign for Jerika Binks is pictured on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019. Binks was last seen on Feb. 18, 2018. Investigators say a hiker discovered her remains in American Fork Canyon. (Photo: KSL TV)

SPANISH FORK — The Utah County Sheriff’s Office says the state medical examiner has confirmed human remains found in American Fork Canyon over the weekend are those of a missing jogger last seen more than a year ago.

Jerika Binks vanished in February 2018 from a home in American Fork. Investigators say she was headed out for a jog, which they were able to confirm she did by looking at surveillance video.

Sunday night, a hiker who was exploring a ravine near the Swinging Bridge Picnic Area of American Fork Canyon reported finding human remains. Those remains were taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Taylorsville, where Binks’ identity was confirmed through dental records.

The sheriff’s office was unable to say what caused Binks’s death but said she had a broken tibia and fibula, which are bones of the lower leg. The department also said it is awaiting confirmation as to the cause of death.

“She had had some struggles with addiction, but she was meeting the challenge and had risen above that. And she had a bright outlook for her future and was looking forward to a future of work and school, and all those things,” Utah County Sheriff’s Spencer Cannon said.

Her family described her as spontaneous and adventurous Wednesday in a press conference. Her brother, Jed Alvey, said she could pack bails of hay just as well as any of the boys could.

“She would make you laugh, and some of the things that she would do, it would just drive you nuts to know how wild she was, very athletic, very strong,” Alvey, one of Binks’ seven siblings, said.

The family is grateful for all the hundreds of hours that came from search and rescue and volunteers who tried to find her.

“Some people think that we kinda had a year, you know, to grieve a little bit about it. But that’s not the case. It hit my family just like it happened yesterday. But it was relieving, too, at the same time, to know that we at least get to bring her home,” Alvey said of learning her remains had been found.

He also said his family plans to reach out to the hiker who found his sister’s remains.