Missing man’s wife joins searchers in Utah

A search by air and along rugged terrain in eastern Utah focused Saturday on a roughly 10-mile radius close to a cellphone tower that captured the last data from phones belonging to a pair of missing Grand Junction men.

“Spirits were good today …  we wore some boots out,” Carbon County Sheriff’s Department deputy Wally Hendricks said. “We’re going to take advantage of that and work them hard tomorrow.”

Hendricks estimated Saturday’s efforts eliminated roughly 30 percent of a swath of land east and south of Price, near a cell tower that communicated with phones of Brian Axe and Mark Widegren, both 28.

The pipeline workers were last seen leaving a sports bar in Price on the night of Jan. 28.

Hopes were buoyed Friday after analysis of cellphone data allowed searchers to sharpen focus of the effort, Hendricks said.

“Today’s the first day we’ve had a place to focus on,” he said.

Pilots in fixed-wing planes Saturday searched with growing numbers of volunteers on the ground, many of them from the Grand Valley, the deputy said.

Among them on Saturday was Kristine Axe, Brian Axe’s wife.

“Everything our hometown has done for us is amazing,” she said.

Contributions to the “Brian Axe and Mark Widegren Search and Rescue Fund,” which family members say will be used for food, fuels and motel rooms for searchers, can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank branch.


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