Crime

Whose bodies were found at Caldwell home? Relatives of missing owners wait anxiously

Three dead bodies found outside Canyon County farmhouse

Canyon County Sheriff's deputies are investigating three decomposing bodies outside a property on Kcid Road. Law enforcement has not identified the bodies yet.
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Canyon County Sheriff's deputies are investigating three decomposing bodies outside a property on Kcid Road. Law enforcement has not identified the bodies yet.

A couple from Utah, in the process of moving to their recently purchased home on Kcid Road outside Caldwell, haven’t been heard from in the past nine days or so, a relative said Tuesday.

So, family members of the 57-year-old retired teacher and 60-year-old pilot were deeply alarmed when Canyon County sheriff’s deputies found three partially decomposed bodies outside the couple’s new home Monday.

Autopsies on the possible homicide victims were done Tuesday, but no details on their names, genders or approximate ages have been released. The Sheriff’s Office plans to provide new details at a news conference at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, county spokesman Joe Decker said.

Someone attempted to hide the bodies outside the home in a rural Caldwell neighborhood, leaving them partially covered, Chief Deputy Marv Dashiell said Monday. The property is surrounded by trees and other plants, making it difficult to see the house near U.S. 20-26.

Investigators are still working to determine whether all three of the people died around the same time, Decker said.

Dashiell said Monday there were no suspects in the case yet. There was no update on whether that changed Tuesday.

“I just don’t know what to believe,” said Byron Baker, whose sister is missing. “There are four people involved here: three bodies and someone who covered the bodies.”

The couple lived alone, Baker said. Until more is known about whose bodies were found, the Statesman is not identifying them.

Baker had no idea who a third person at the home might be.

Deputies found the bodies while performing a welfare check, Baker said, after one of the male homeowner’s sons called, concerned about not hearing from his father. Baker didn’t have any contact with investigators until Tuesday afternoon, when a deputy called to ask where his sister’s medical and dental records could be found, he said.

A cryptic text from his sister to a close friend in Utah around June 11 adds to the family’s worries, Baker said. The text read: “Take care of my dogs. I don’t know if I’m coming back.”

That seems ominous in retrospect, Baker said, but it could have simply meant the couple was about to embark on a long backpacking trip or other outdoor adventure. His sister, and especially her husband, were very fond of such pursuits, he said.

Baker said his sister hasn’t been heard from since that text, and uncharacteristically stopped making near-daily phone calls to their elderly mother. Her husband reportedly has been incommunicado as well, not showing up for work, Baker said.

He said he isn’t sure whether his sister was in Idaho when she sent that final text.

Baker’s sister hadn’t finished packing up their home in Utah, which the couple planned to sell. They liked the Canyon County area, Baker said, and bought the home outside Caldwell last month.

Their dogs and mules, used in outfitting trips, apparently hadn’t been moved to Caldwell yet. The couple planned to build fencing and make other improvements at the Kcid Road property, Baker said.

Canyon County Sheriff's deputies on Monday discovered 3 decomposing bodies outside a property on Kcid Road. Later in the day, there continued to be a heavy police presence in the area as officials worked to identify the bodies.

Monday’s discovery alarmed neighbors of the Kcid Road home and set them to searching their memories. One nearby resident said she heard a loud scream early one morning around June 6 to 10.

“It sounded like a woman calling for help,” said Cindy Morrison, who lives several hundred yards southwest of the Kcid Road home. It’s unclear whether the sound was related to the deaths.

Morrison said she woke up between 1 and 1:30 a.m. on the morning she heard the scream. She said she’s not sure whether a disturbance woke her up or whether she woke up on her own.

“I’ve lived out here 26 years and haven’t heard anything like that before,” she said. “It was loud, but I didn’t hear anything more.”

She did not call police, thinking that if it was something serious a neighbor closer to the sound would call it in.

Baker said his sister retired this year from her job as a teacher at a charter school in Utah. She holds a degree in hearing impairment and earlier worked for the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind, at one point earning Teacher of the Year honors.

Her husband earns a living as a pilot but pursued his passion in the outdoors, serving as an outfitter and guide for hunters, Baker said. He also is an avid motorcyclist, and both husband and wife signed up to participate in a June 26 motorcycle rally in Billings, Mont.

The couple married about a decade ago, Baker said, and they seemed very happy. During a rafting trip she organized last year, he said, “my sister was just glowing about how well they got along. ... They were just peas in a pod.”

Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447

John Sowell contributed.

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