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Police: Missing American Fork man was acting oddly before disappearance

American Fork police are searching for 30-year-old Paul Heiner Swenson, last seen leaving for an appointment in Salt Lake County on Thursday, July 27, 2017.
American Fork police are searching for 30-year-old Paul Heiner Swenson, last seen leaving for an appointment in Salt Lake County on Thursday, July 27, 2017.
American Fork Police Department

SALT LAKE CITY — A 30-year-old American Fork father who went missing Thursday wasn't making sense and was acting out-of-character in the hours before he disappeared, authorities said.

Paul Heiner Swenson had also gone to the doctor that morning because he believed he was having heart issues, said American Fork Police Sgt. Josh Christensen.

Swenson was headed to a different appointment in Salt Lake County in his family's black BMW about 3 p.m., police said. But his car was found the next morning at an elementary school in Salt Lake City's Glendale neighborhood.

"We're very concerned for him and his safety, so we're taking it very seriously," Christensen said, adding that Swenson's wife and others said he had been acting oddly.

"He may still be going through some type of mental health crisis or something similar. He may not be in his right state of mind," Christensen said.

Police say Swenson did not have a history of mental health issues. And they have not specified what kind of appointment he was heading to Thursday afternoon.

Detectives believe he didn't reach his destination and is currently in or around Millcreek. They tracked his phone and determined he was near 4700 South and 900 East in Millcreek Thursday evening. After that, his cellphone was off.

Swenson's car — a black, four-door, 2016 BMW X6 — was found early Friday near Parkview Elementary School in Glendale. Police said the vehicle was found "under suspicious circumstances" with things inside that potentially belonged to someone else.

"It just brings up the question: Was somebody with him when they left the vehicle or did someone steal the vehicle?" Christensen said.

On Tuesday, Mary Ann Swenson said she was grateful that police and dozens of volunteers were searching for her son.

"We need eyes. We need ears. We need people to be out looking," she said.

A vigil was set for Wednesday night at the Holladay Lions Recreation Center, where community members were expected to pray for Paul Swenson to be found safe.

Friends of the American Fork husband and father of a baby girl said over the weekend that some people reported spotting him near the Road Home shelter in Salt Lake City's Rio Grande neighborhood, but it wasn't clear if the leads were accurate.

Swenson's friend Shiann Chambers said he had been "kind of off the past few weeks," but said behavior like this is "very out of character" for Swenson.

His wife, Ashlee Swenson, said in a video posted on Facebook that his family has love and support for him.

"He's such a light in our lives and he brings so much happiness in our world," she said.

Paul Swenson is white with red hair, hazel eyes and a half-sleeve of tattoos on his right arm, police said. He is 6 feet tall, weighs 190 pounds and was last seen wearing a heather-gray short sleeve shirt, black jeans and black Converse shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Utah County Sheriff's Office at 801-794-3970.

The volunteers searching for him said in a Tuesday statement that possible sightings have been reported in Wendover, North Salt Lake, Salt Lake City and elsewhere, but none of the tips have led to him.

Contributing: Nicole Vowell