Missing Boy's Body Found in Utah
L. ANNE NEWELL
Nov. 01, 2000
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Searchers found the body of a toddler reported missing by his father, who said he left the boy in his truck while he checked out a mountainous hunting area.
An autopsy of 2-year-old Gage Wayment was set for late in the day at the state medical examiner's office in Salt Lake City, and police scheduled an afternoon news conference.
Summit County sheriff's dispatcher Neil Simmons on Wednesday confirmed the discovery of the body but gave no details.
Paul Wayment, 37, said he left his son dressed in pajamas and strapped in a car seat in his truck last week while he scouted for deer in the area of northern Utah. He said he locked the truck doors and took the keys with him, but when he returned about 40 minutes later, the boy was gone.
Wayment has been questioned twice, and investigators said they were to meet with him Wednesday for a lie-detector test.
``We are not referring to him as a suspect yet,'' said sheriff's investigator Robert Berry.
The official search for the boy was called off Sunday, but volunteers continued looking for him.
Berry said one volunteer reported that he got lost, spent Monday night in the mountains and then found the boy's body on Tuesday while making his way out of the area.
Becky Taylor, another volunteer, said she encountered the man Tuesday while she was looking for her dog and that he told her he had carried the boy's body for hours and finally had to put it down. Taylor said she and other volunteers searched with the man, trying to retrace his route, before the sheriff's office was called.
Investigators on Tuesday determined the boy was probably not abducted after interviewing two hunters who were in the area when he disappeared Thursday. The private hunting area is accessible only through a gate with a combination lock.
``They said there was no one else in that area at the time,'' Berry said.
Wayment was awarded temporary custody of the boy in late June, and a review hearing was to have been held within the next two months. In June, Wayment's ex-wife, Brenda Harrison, 38, was stripped of custody of all six of her children from four marriages.