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Body retrieved in S. Utah is that of missing doctor

A body found Tuesday in the cliffs near the Tuacahn Center for the Arts has been identified as that of a St. George physician who was facing felony criminal charges.

Pete Kuhlman, chief deputy with the Washington County sheriff's office, said an autopsy determined the remains are those of Dr. Jeffery K. Adams, 51, who disappeared in the region last May. Kuhlman also said that a prescription pill bottle belonging to Adams' estranged wife, Wendy, was found near the remains by sheriff's deputies.Two teenage hikers from an Orem theater group stumbled upon Adams' decomposed remains. Kuhlman said the state medical examiner's office had not yet determined a cause of death and he declined to speculate. But he said there were no signs of trauma to the body.

At the time of his disappearance, Adams, a gynecologist who had practiced in Utah County for several years, was facing cohabitant abuse charges and felony aggravated assault charges. Police also said Adams had been under stress preparing for a June 1997 hospital board examination.

In February 1996, Adams pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges of assault and unlawful detention arising from a domestic dispute. His wife took out an ex-parte protective order and filed a divorce petition soon afterward, but the divorce was never finalized.

Adams was reported missing in late May. A spousal abuse petition against him was filed in Fifth District Court on May 29, 1996.

On June 2, 1997, an arrest warrant was issued for Adams on the aggravated assault charges. Police said he had also failed to complete court-ordered counseling as part of his probation from the misdemeanor convictions.