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Man charged with murdering wife found dead in wrecked SUV near Pineview Reservoir

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Police car with flashing lights. An Alabama woman disappeared Thursday night after calling the police to report seeing a toddler walking alone on the highway. 

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HUNTSVILLE, Weber County — A man charged with murdering his wife was found dead in his wrecked SUV near Pineview Reservoir Thursday night.

“So earlier this evening about 6 p.m., we received a call from a citizen,” said Weber County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Cortney Ryan. “He was walking his dog in the area, and ... he came upon a vehicle that appeared to have been involved in a traffic accident.”

Deputies arrived at the site near mile post 15 on Highway 39 near the Upper Valley area to find a vehicle several hundred yards from the road, badly damaged from a rollover accident. Very quickly, deputies realized the black Toyota Land Cruiser was the SUV police had been searching for since Tuesday, after a woman was shot to death at a home in Huntsville, Ryan said.

“We did identify the male that was in the vehicle deceased as Scott William Russell, who was being sought in connection with the homicide a couple of days ago,” Ryan said. “At this point, it appears the injuries were sustained in the traffic accident.”

Russell was charged with murder and several other crimes after police were summoned to a home near Huntsville just after 9 p.m. Tuesday, The call to emergency dispatchers was made by a person who had received the information from Russell’s son, who lives out of state, according to court documents.

Russell’s son reported that his father said he shot his wife, but then later said he was joking.

Deputies who arrived at the house found a woman with five gunshot wounds “in the back of her body, including one at the base of her skull,” according to the court documents. Her husband was not there.

The woman’s name has not yet been released.

Ryan said speed and possibly weather contributed to what appears to be an accident in which the Toyota left or slid off the highway and rolled multiple times down an embankment, coming to rest about 50 yards from Pineview Reservoir’s shoreline.

“It was over 300 feet from the roadway,” Ryan said.

He said detectives were still working with the medical examiner’s office in putting the pieces together of what happened to the car and why it appears to have crashed.

“We want to offer our condolences to the family and to everybody affected by this very tragic incident,” Ryan said.