A 19-year-old man found dead by a friend Tuesday morning died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Salt Lake County sheriff's office.
But investigators do not know whether the wound that killed Russell M. Maggard, West Valley City, was inflicted intentionally or accidentally, said sheriff's spokesman Jim Potter."We're not calling it one way or another," Potter said. "It's even possible that whoever shot him didn't know it."
Maggard, on active duty with the Utah National Guard, had been fishing in the Jordan Narrows area in Bluffdale. His wallet and vehicle were undisturbed, leading police to believe that robbery was not a motive in the shooting, if it was intentional. Maggard's fishing pole was found propped along the river bank with the line still in the water, Potter said.
A friend of Maggard's told deputies he found Maggard's body Tuesday morning after being sent to search for him by Maggard's wife, who went to bed Monday evening after reading a note from her husband that said he had gone fishing.
The couple had been married for only a week and a half, Potter said.
She called the friend after she woke up Tuesday and discovered her husband had not come home. The friend had originally planned to go fishing with Maggard but had changed his plans.
The friend located Maggard's body in an open field by the gravel pits about five miles south of 14600 S. 1100 West. Investigators initially believed the victim had died by slipping on an embankment and hitting his head on a rock. The bullet wound was discovered in an autopsy.
The caliber of the weapon involved in the shooting had not been determined as of Wednesday morning. The area is popular with rabbit hunters and target shooters, Potter said, increasing the likelihood that the shooting could have been an accident. He encouraged anyone who was shooting in the area to contact the sheriff's department.