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Bodies of missing Utah teens recovered from Utah Lake



UTAH COUNTY, Utah, May 14, 2020  — Search teams in Utah County have recovered the bodies of two missing teenagers who disappeared May 6 on Utah Lake.

According to Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith, the bodies of 17-year-old Sophia Hernandez and 18-year-old Priscilla Bienkowski were found Thursday afternoon.

The first body was discovered by a fisherman about 1:40 p.m. in the vicinity of Lincoln Beach, Smith said.

The second body was discovered near Goshen Bay at 4:40p.m. by a pilot with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.  Smith said that was more than 8 miles from where the girls went into the water.

The teenagers had been swimming with flotation tubes in area known as The Knolls, on the west side of the lake, when it appears they were caught in a violent windstorm late Wednesday afternoon.

Officers who were near the lake at the time described the conditions as “fierce.”

High winds presented a challenge to searchers who went out at about 8 p.m. after the girls’ parents reported them missing.

Search and rescue efforts included the use of a DPS helicopter. While searchers reported finding a float believed to belong to one of the teens, they reported no other signs of the girls that night.

Later, law enforcement officials revealed one of the teen’s cell phones and car keys were located not far from where they had parked their car.

Helicopters, searchers on horseback, boats with sonar capabilities, and divers searched for teens for nearly a week before the rescue efforts shifted to a recovery operation.

Gephardt Daily will update this developing story as more information becomes available.

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