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Missing Utah man found dead at Willard Bay in presumed drowning

Brandon Larsen
Brandon Larsen

(KUTV) — After a search Tuesday, a man was found dead Wednesday morning at Willard Bay State Park, presumably from drowning.

Brandon Larsen, 46, from Perry, Utah, is believed to have brought a paddleboard to the park when he arrived Sunday evening. However, the inflatable paddleboard has not been located so investigators are asking for the public's help as they investigates Larson's death.

Officials request that anyone who found a paddleboard or who saw Larsen at Willard Bay on Sunday to contact Utah State Parks.

"This paddleboard, along with any information about Larsen’s activities Sunday, is important to the investigation," a press released read Wednesday. The board is a Dave Scadden Paddlesports Grand Slam model that is lime green with a white border.

Sunday evening park staff noticed items on the beach that included a chair, sandals, beach towel and car keys that were believed to be forgotten by a visitor. On Tuesday, after further investigation, rangers noticed Larsen's vehicle had not been moved from its spot and figured out the found keys belong to that vehicle. They ran identification information and contacted Larsen's family.

On Tuesday afternoon water and land searches started and searches found his cellphone in the water inside a dry-bag. His body was recovered from the same area around 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Larsen's family released a statement:

Our family would like the thank Utah State Parks, Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office, Box Elder County Search and Rescue, Willard City Police Department, Brigham City Police Department, State Park Ranger James Morgan, Detective Yates, and all of the family and friends that came out to help search for Brandon.
Brandon was a father, brother, son, uncle, veteran, and teacher. The loss of him from our lives is indescribable.
Brandon’s death was a tragic accident and we would like privacy at this time to mourn the loss of him.
Thank you.

- The Larsen and Lish families

Larsen was a teacher at Sand Ridge Junior High. The school district issued the following statement:

We were informed this morning about the tragic death of one of our teachers, Brandon B. Larsen. Brandon taught business at Sand Ridge Junior High School in Roy for ten years, and then transferred to Weber Innovation High School in 2016 where he taught business and computer programming. He had been with the district for 11 years. Brandon was beloved by students and highly respected by his peers. Our condolences go out to his friends, family and loved ones.