Body of recovered paddleboarder identified as BYU student


PARK CITY — Search and rescue teams have found the body of a missing paddleboarder inside Rockport State Park.

Summit County Sheriff J. Martinez announced Saturday afternoon on his office’s Twitter account that 21-year-old Joshua Merkley, a BYU student, was found dead. Merkley was a sophomore studying Latin American Studies.

Crews from both Summit and Wasatch counties had been searching for the Layton man.

Summit County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Bridge says Merkley got separated from his paddleboard Friday around 3:30 p.m. while on Rockport Reservoir.

The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation says a witness saw Merkley fall and that he was not wearing a life jacket.

Initially, only his paddleboard was recovered.

Authorities say a strong wind front had been in the area.

Funeral services are scheduled from 11 a.m. Thursday at the Oak Lane Ward building at 2680 Cherry Lane in Layton. In memory of Merkley, BYU will lower the Flag of the United States to half-staff on Thursday from sunrise to sunset.


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