Woman missing for months found dead in her SUV in remote Utah desert, officials say

·1 min read
Photo from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation

A Colorado woman missing for months was found dead in her SUV in the remote Utah desert mountains, officials say.

Melissa Lynn Gonzales, 70, was last seen leaving her niece’s home in Grand Junction, Colorado, on Nov. 15 but never made it home across town, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Instead, her phone records showed “she drove directly to eastern Utah (remote area) and remained for a few hours before her phone went out of service,” investigators said.

Neither Gonzales nor her SUV were found during a search of the area, according to investigators.

The Utah Department of Natural Resources spotted her SUV in “a remote area of the Book Cliffs north of Moab” on March 19 while conducting research via helicopter, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office in Utah said in a Facebook post.

The Utah Medical Examiner’s Office identified the body found in the SUV as Gonzales, according to a March 21 update from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado.

Grand County deputies said there was nothing suspicious about the way her SUV was found, and it appears to have been involved in a crash.

Gonzales’ manner and cause of death are still being investigated, according to Mesa County deputies.

The Book Cliffs span Utah and Colorado, according to the outdoors website SummitPost.

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