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Police report: After missing for several days, troubled county recorder is now with his family

SALT LAKE CITY — After going missing for several days amid concerns about his health and well-being, troubled Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott is now in the custody of his family.

That's according to a "found person" police report obtained by the Deseret News on Wednesday, detailing an incident last week when officers located Ott sitting in a truck parked in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Harrisville, while Ott's office aide, Karmen Sanone, who also identifies herself as Ott's "longtime friend," shopped inside.

Harrisville is in Weber County, more than 50 miles north of Ott's Salt Lake City home but just a five-minute drive from Sanone's house in North Ogden.

Police responded after Ott's sister, Kristine Williams, told officers she had a court order issued June 28 stating she was awarded guardianship of her brother, according to the report.

Ott, 66, was found about five days after his siblings, including Williams, filed a petition seeking legal guardianship and conservatorship of an incapacitated adult and an order for "emergency pickup."

"Kristine advised us that Gary suffered from severe dementia," an officer wrote in the report. "Kristine advised that Gary was living with Karmen Sanone and that she was an aggressive person and may not let Gary go. Kristine was concerned for Gary's safety while he was living with Karmen."

County employees and Ott's other sister, Kathy Chamberlain, have accused Sanone of "manipulating" or "taking advantage" the longtime recorder. Ott's health has become the focus of widespread concern amid his dwindling work attendance and a recent 45-minute, incoherent interview.

Sanone has denied those accusations. She declined requests from the Deseret News to comment Wednesday.

In a report describing the incident last week, the Harrisville officer wrote that Ott was sitting on the passenger side of the truck with the window rolled down halfway, the keys not in the ignition and no air conditioning in "91-degree heat."

"While speaking with Gary, he was unable to remember where he was," the officer wrote. "I asked Gary if he lived in Pleasant View, and he stated no but he couldn't remember where he lived. Gary would keep repeating himself and lose his train of thought."

The officer also said Ott "could not visually identify his sister Kristine, who was standing right in front of him," and could only "vaguely remember" his brother, who also arrived on the scene.

"While Gary was standing outside the truck, he lifted up his shirt," the officer wrote. "Gary had very pale skin that was loose and drooping off his body."

When Sanone came out from shopping in Wal-Mart, the officer said he advised her that Ott's sister had obtained a court order giving her guardianship over Ott.

When asked why Ott was in the truck, Sanone told the officer "that since Gary had been in the news, she was afraid people would recognize him."

"Karmen also advised that they had been in an on-again off-again relationship over the last 10 years, and that they were living in North Ogden," the officer said.

The officer said Sanone "was cooperative and gave me Gary's pills to provide to his family," and she also spoke with Ott "to reassure him that he did, in fact, need to leave with his sister."

Ott then left with Williams, the officer reported.

Ott's family declined to comment to the Deseret News on Wednesday, deferring any questions to their attorney, Mary Corporon, who is also Ott's ex-wife.

Corporon didn't immediately return requests for comment Wednesday.

According to court records, however, it appears a legal conflict is brewing between Ott's family and Sanone.

The case has been sealed as a private matter, but from the court records detailing its activity, attorney Laura Milliken Gray — who specializes in elder law — said a third party has filed an objection to Ott's family's legal pursuit of guardianship of an incapacitated adult.

According to the case's records, Sanone on Monday was deemed "not included as an interested party in this matter and needs to file a motion to intervene."

Gray said that's because Sanone likely has no legal standing to be involved with a case regarding Ott's guardianship or conservatorship, according to the court records.

Last week, Sanone told the Deseret News that she is identified in Ott's living will, but Gray said a living will often only involves a person's assets after death or if a person is unable to communicate medical instructions.

Still, according to court records, it appears Sanone has hired an attorney to dispute the family's guardianship over Ott.

A hearing concerning Ott's guardianship is scheduled for July 14 in 3rd District Court. According to court records, Judge Bruce Lubeck will hear the case.