Brothers crack missing man case that stumped police for five years

December 30, 2015 7:24 am

 

Lance Leeroy Arellano went missing in November, 2010.

On a November night in 2010, gunfire lit up a dark, desert canyon near Utah’s Dead Horse State Park.
It
was a brief, brutal confrontation that brought both parties to the
brink of death. Park ranger Brady Young, who was shot in his lung,
heart, shoulder, back, hip and groin during the confrontation,
eventually dragged himself back to his patrol truck to call for help.
The
other man, thought to be 40-year-old Lance Leeroy Arellano based on the
1999 silver Pontiac found parked in the bushes several miles south of
the scene, simply vanished into the park’s maze of towering red rock.
Despite
a weeks-long manhunt that filled the canyon with dozens of black-clad
investigators and search planes’ steady whine, the trail went cold.
Either Arellano was dead, or he’d somehow slipped past the swarms of
officers. The FBI put out a notice of a US $30,000 (NZ $43671.31) reward
for information about the missing man. Five years later, someone has
finally come forward.

Brothers Caleb and Jarom Shumway, a pair of aspiring Hardy
Boys from nearby Moab, Utah, who dedicated their Christmas break to
searching the canyon where Arellano disappeared, uncovered remains
thought to belong to the shooter last week, putting an end to the
mystery.
Caleb, 23, a student home for the holidays, had always
been curious about the case. His police officer father had been involved
in the manhunt in 2010 so the Shumway brothers knew all about how
Arellano seemed to disappear into the park’s craggy landscape.
Still,
Caleb Shumway believed he could locate Arellano. The Eagle Scout had
grown up exploring the area’s caves and crevasses, and he’d talked with
his father enough to get a good idea of where Arellano may have hidden.
He recruited his 15-year-old brother, Jarom, and they set out in search
of clues.
The brothers were prepared to dedicate their entire
break to the mystery – it had, after all, eluded scores of professional
investigators. But they only needed 48 hours.
On their second day
of searching, Caleb Shumway told the Salt Lake Tribune, the brothers
slipped through a narrow opening into a small, cramped cave. Just near
the cavern’s mouth lay a bag containing a handgun and magazine and a
single human bone.

It’s really exciting
finding some closure for all the families involved, all the police
involved, and then just getting to be in the middle of it.

Caleb Shumway

The
brothers took some photos, then hopped out of the cave and hurried to
tell the police. They met with law enforcement on December 24, who
returned to the cave for a more thorough search. Even deeper into the
void in the rocks, they discovered another backpack, a gun, clothing and
a skeleton.
Police believe that skeleton belongs to Arellano.
The remains have been sent to the Utah State Medical Examiner’s office
for identification, according to a Sheriff’s Office press release.
Shumway
hopes that his hunch was correct – the promised US$30,000 FBI reward is
“pretty appealing” to “a poor college student”, he told the Salt Lake
Tribune, and it’s one of the main reasons he started his search.
But
he also hopes to provide some closure to Young, the park ranger who was
shot by Arellano five years ago. Then 34, the ranger had pulled over at
a dark trailhead to talk with a man in a parked vehicle to tell him he
was camping illegally.
When he asked Arellano who he was, the man responded with a fake name and birth date, according to the Tribune.
Young
turned toward his truck to check the information, and was shot in the
back nine times. He fired back, then crawled 10m to his car to summon
help.
“It’s really exciting finding some closure for all the
families involved, all the police involved, and then just getting to be
in the middle of it,” Shumway told KSTU. “It’s exciting, and it feels
good.”

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