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Man who vanished on snowy mountain after sending friend a clue found dead, sheriff says

A man who sent a clue of a snowy mountain to a friend months ago has been found dead, a Utah sheriff’s office said.

Before Austin Madsen, 32, of Mapleton, went missing in January, he told his family he was heading to Arizona, the Mapleton City Police Department said in a Feb. 1 Facebook post.

On Jan. 29, Madsen made a phone call and sent a friend a video clip before vanishing, McClatchy News previously reported the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office said.

The clip, posted to Facebook by his wife, shows a 360-degree view from a snowy mountain summit.

The sheriff’s office said in a June 1 news release that it did an “extensive search and rescue” near the “Dry Hallow area on Mount Dutton” after Madsen was reported missing.

Searchers recorded a ping from Madsen’s phone in Garfield County, and a search found his vehicle, the sheriff’s office said.

Search teams also found footprints in the snow and followed them, deputies said.

However, because of “extreme winter weather” in the area, deputies said they suspended the search efforts. Deputies said they exhausted all their leads in February.

Deputies said they again searched over the weekend of May 20 but did not find any leads.

Then, on May 29, the sheriff’s office said it got a report of human remains found “in the Mount Dutton area,” about 5 miles southwest of where the sheriff’s office initially centered its search efforts for Madsen.

An autopsy confirmed the remains were Madsen, who died of “natural causes,” deputies said.

“This is not the news we thought we’d get,” a friend wrote on Facebook. “My heart hurts for Austin’s family.”

Madsen leaves behind a wife and two sons, according to the friend.

Mount Dutton is in southern Utah, about 230 miles south of Salt Lake City.

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