Crime Junkie - MISSING: Reed Jeppson

Episode Date: November 6, 2023

Reed Jeppson, a Salt Lake City teen, went outside to feed his dogs one Sunday afternoon in 1964 – and vanished, with the dogs, into thin air. Decades later, his heartbroken family still has so many ...unanswered questions. If you have any information about Reed, please contact Salt Lake City police at 801-799-3000.If Reed is alive today, he’s 74-years-old. He’s white, with medium blond hair and blue eyes. At the time of his disappearance, he was 5’6 and 140 pounds, and he had braces on his top and bottom teeth.CDC Suicide Risks and Protective FactorsIf you or anyone you know is thinking about suicide, emotional support can be reached by calling or texting the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988, or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).Source materials for this episode cannot be listed here due to character limitations. For a full list of sources, please visit:’t miss out on all things Crime Junkie!Instagram: @crimejunkiepodcast | @audiochuckTwitter: @CrimeJunkiePod | @audiochuckTikTok: @crimejunkiepodcastFacebook: /CrimeJunkiePodcast | /audiochuckllcCrime Junkie is hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat. Instagram: @ashleyflowers | @britprawatTwitter: @Ash_Flowers | @britprawatTikTok: @ashleyflowerscrimejunkieFacebook: /AshleyFlowers.AF Text Ashley at +1 (317) 733-7485 to talk all things true crime, get behind the scenes updates, random photos of Chuck, and more! 

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 Hi, Crime Junkies. I'm your host, Ashley Flowers, and I'm Britt. And today's story is one of those that came to me in the strangest of ways, Britt. So years ago, when I was in another state working on a completely different podcast, I heard this story. It was a story I had never heard before,
Starting point is 00:00:19 which is rare. Yeah. But I couldn't figure out how I hadn't heard about it, because the story that was told to me was so bizarre so infuriating and chilling that it didn't seem real But when I googled the case like years ago There's only a few small articles that came up about this missing boy from the 60s It wasn't quite like the woven tail. I was told but I could never forget about it
Starting point is 00:00:44 Like it was one of those things like itches my brain, and I kept coming back to it over and over until I had the right resources to really dig in. And digging in is the key to this case. In more ways than one, and it turns out what I was told all those years ago seems to be true. This is the story of Reed Jepsen. For many Salt Lake City Utah residents, Sundays are a sacred day reserved for faith and family, especially for the city's largest population of Latter-day Saints.
Starting point is 00:01:51 And that's definitely true for the large Jebson clan. So as the morning church sessions come to an end, on Sunday, October 11, 1964, they all gather back at their house. Suzanne, who's among the oldest of the kids in the house, is in the kitchen, whipping up the family's Sunday staple of roast beef mashed potatoes and gravy, which was my family's Sunday staple as well. Yeah, that's Sunday lunch, obviously. And 15-year-old Reed heads outside to feed and care for his German short-haired pointers,
Starting point is 00:02:20 one-year-old Bess and little Anne, who's still a little puppy. So Suzanne, as he's like heading out, she tells him he needs to be back inside in a half-hour since the food's gonna be ready soon, and he promises that he will be. But by the time the Jeppesons sit down to eat, Reed has it returned. And he doesn't come running when Suzanne Hollers for him in the backyard where the dog kennels are. Are the dogs there? No, like no-read, no dogs. And the Jepsen's yard is really big for a suburban area, like nearly an acre, but it's
Starting point is 00:02:50 not like there are a million places he can be. So Suzanne told our reporter Nina that the family's first assumption is that he's probably still walking the dogs and just hasn't gotten back on time like he's supposed to. Though they're still kind of expecting him to walk in any minute, because he usually just takes the dogs around the block, they don't go far, but they end up eating their whole meal and he doesn't show the entire time. He's not even there later in the day when his family heads out to go visit friends, even though he was planning on going with them.
Starting point is 00:03:21 And just to know, it might not have been friends, that's what the police report says, but Reeds Brother John said in his podcast, notes from John with a babble from Pond, that they were actually going to a late afternoon worship service. He says he even remembers thinking like, all man, like Reeds skipping out on church, mom and dad are not going to be happy about that. But whatever the deal is, whatever the plans are, it doesn't sound like anyone's even panicking yet, so reads parents Edward and Elizabeth head somewhere. When they come home that evening, and he still isn't back, that's when a alarm bells start ringing.
Starting point is 00:03:56 And as they call around to his friends to find out if anyone's seat or heard from him, every no just adds this new layer of fear. And I assume the dogs are still gone too? Yeah, there are still MIA. And the thing to note is they're not really like family pets. They are reeds dogs. And his dad agreed to let him get them as long as he was the one that took care of them.
Starting point is 00:04:16 He even had to take on a paper route just to pay for their expenses. So I don't think it's unusual for the dogs to be with him, him to be with the dogs, like they're kind of a package deal. But again, what is abnormal is for them to be out this long. So as the family's racking their brains, trying to figure out where he might be, it's the more innocent explanations that they come up with first. I mean Salt Lake City is known for its mix of foothills, ravines, mountains, so maybe he fell and hurt himself while he was walking them.
Starting point is 00:04:47 He could be trapped somewhere and need help, maybe the dogs got trapped too, or maybe they're just staying near him like good puppets are known to do. The thing that they're thinking is he could be in real danger, because as beautiful as the October days are, if he's stuck somewhere, the knights can be dangerously cold. So at 12.42am, on Monday, October 12th, Reed's parents call Salt Lake City Police. They detail everything from the outfit he was wearing when he walked out the door, blue jeans, white shirt, black and blue parka, gym shoes, to the reasons why they're so concerned. Because as they explain, Reed has never done anything like this before. He's responsible, dependable, literally, and eagle scout whose life revolves around church,
Starting point is 00:05:30 school, and football. And he has no reason to run away. This is a kid with lots of good friends and a big loving family, 10 brothers and sisters, most of them still at home. His dad's a doctor, his mom's a homemaker, they live very comfortably. And he didn't even have any arguments with his parents or spat with his siblings and he has never mentioned plans to leave. So the responding officers do like come out, talk to them, take this report, they look
Starting point is 00:05:58 around, but they are not necessarily as concerned as his family. They don't see any signs of foul play or a struggle inside or near the dog kennels. And so they're kind of pretty sure at that point that he's just a teen being a teen. As soon as I knew we were dealing with a missing teen from the 60s, I kind of assumed this is where we were going. Well, and to be fair, there are a couple of things that might have pointed police in that direction,
Starting point is 00:06:24 but this is where our trail gets murky. There's so much conflicting information around this case. Like the investigators we interviewed weren't on the force at all back then because this is so old. And Salt Lake City PD only gave us a fraction of the records that they actually have, so we're trying to put together a puzzle with a bunch of missing pieces. But all that being said, according to the initial reports, one of Reed's brothers checked
Starting point is 00:06:49 to see if Reed's money was still wherever he kept it, probably in his room. And he told their mom that Reed's entire stash of $60 disappeared right along with him. But $60 in the 1960s, I mean, that would be like what in today's money? I mean, I think close to like $600 today. Oh, so not something you just like carry around if you're just heading out to feed the dogs. Yeah, you're not like walking to the like local convenience store with that. But that's not all. So I assume in talking to the family, officers learn this next fact, and that's that over the past summer, Reed worked at this ranch that belongs to his extended family in this little town in Wyoming about two and a half
Starting point is 00:07:28 hours away. And while he was there, Reed met a girl named Jana. And I guess both Reed and this other boy at the ranch were interested in Jana. And Reed had recently written a letter to the other boy asking for Jana's address, and in late September, the boy responded, sent him the address for her in Kansas City, Missouri. So when police hear that, they're like, oh, okay, here's a girl that he likes.
Starting point is 00:07:53 Maybe he grabbed all of his money and took off to go see this girl. I mean, with his two dogs, though? I mean, listen, where are my dog people at? Like, those are his babies, you know? Like, I got Chuck when I was 21, and there wasn't a world where I was going to be leaving him behind for anyone. Plus, knowing the arrangement that they had, like the family, that re-did everything for
Starting point is 00:08:14 the dogs, maybe he worried about them getting taken care of if he was gone. I mean, he was their person. I guess I get the sentiment, but I can't figure out how, I mean, he left on foot. I don't see him popping on a bus with these two dogs. That is true. But also, again, we're in the 60s. This is the golden era for hitchhiking, so maybe that's a possibility. Okay, but you've got to be counting on a miracle for someone to actually stop, pick you up,
Starting point is 00:08:41 and be willing to take your two dogs. And German pointers aren't like little pocket poodles. Yeah, at least not the older one best. I'm gonna take up the entire backseat. Listen, I'm not saying that this makes sense, but I think what I'm getting at is A, teenagers do things all the time that don't make sense. You have a teenager.
Starting point is 00:09:00 B, throw logic out the window when we're talking about Chuck. Like I'd walk from Utah to Missouri if that was my only option. And what I'm really getting at above all else is just like, these investigators don't know him, so even though nothing is maybe the perfect scenario in their minds, it is still a possibility. Okay, but did he take anything else with him? He'd need more than just his dogs and his money. I mean, I mean, he's worried about who's going to take care of the dogs. Food for the dogs? Okay, but did he take anything else with him? He'd need more than just his dogs and his money.
Starting point is 00:09:25 I mean, I mean, he's worried about who's gonna take care of the dogs. Food for the dogs? Hello, I mean, right. If there's a chance he's walking, he needs more than just money and dogs. Yeah, I think you're paying on something important because, no, he didn't take anything else. All of his stuff is still at home. So, when you break it all down, this theory does not make sense. But this Janileid right now is the only one that police have. So they at least start investigating, even if they have a theory that he ran away. And at first they issue a bulletin to Kansas City of police
Starting point is 00:10:01 with Reeds description asking them to check with check with Jana to see if he's there. But right off the bat, this fizzles. I don't think Kansas City police ever find Jana, and maybe that's because at the end of the day, I'm actually not sure if Jana ever lived in Missouri, because as far as we could tell, she's in Wyoming while all of this is going down, that same area that the ranch was where Reed worked at. And Suzanne Reed's sister told us that Reed wasn't in love with this girl. He just thought she was cute, they weren't dating, there was no love triangle.
Starting point is 00:10:39 Janna apparently wasn't even interested in him at all. So Suzanne is adamant that this whole J Janileid somehow over time has just gotten way overhyped, overblown, over everything. Okay, well then, who else would he have left everything to go see? That's the thing, no one. And actually there is nothing to suggest that he did leave because it turns out even the idea that he took that money turns out not to be true because Suzanne said that she found his savings in a jar in his closet after he vanished.
Starting point is 00:11:17 Okay, then where is he? Well, there is at least one detective who thinks that Reed might be a lot closer to home than anyone realizes. A few days into the investigation, a detective drops by the Jepsen home and asks Reed's 16-year-old brother, John, to just take a ride with him. He says he wants to question one of Reed's friends, but he needs help finding the guy's house, so John hops into the back of the patrol car and off they go. But the moment they pull up to the friend's place, things change dramatically.
Starting point is 00:11:53 According to John's podcast and YouTube video that he made, the detective switches off the car and without missing a beat. Turns to him and says, okay, John, your actions are breaking your parents' hearts, so just come clean and tell me where he is. Wait, what actions? What exactly is he accusing him of? He thinks that John is hiding read somewhere, or knows where read is, and he threatens to take John to the station for a polygraph if he doesn't admit it.
Starting point is 00:12:23 Okay, where is this coming from? Like, are they grilling all the siblings or just John? He's the only one I know about, but I have to imagine that they focus on him out of everyone because he and Reed were tight. They're like really close in age, they share a bedroom, they share that paper route. So I guess investigators figure if anyone, if any of the 10 siblings are gonna know where Reed is,
Starting point is 00:12:43 like, John's the most likely. But John maintains that he is totally in the dark, like the rest of the family, and he finally gets fed up and says, you know what, bring me to the station, give me the polygraph, because I don't know anything about this. But it's all a bluff, and it doesn't work, so the detective doesn't take him to the station, there's a polygraph, he just takes him home. Now, when John really thinks about that weird interaction, he realizes that his parents must have given police the green light to interrogate him like that, and he's mad like he feels betrayed and frustrated. So for what he says is the first time in his life, he confronts his parents, and they explain to him that investigators
Starting point is 00:13:25 wanted to take that approach, like it was their idea. And they just went along with that out of sheer desperation because they had nothing at this point, even though police chase leads through multiple states. For instance, at one point, they had heard Reed might be in Colorado with two other boys who ran away from home, but when detectives check that out, there's no sign of Reed, the boys have no idea who he is.
Starting point is 00:13:48 Then in November, they learned about a teen who'd registered at a motel about 50 miles south of Salt Lake. But according to the Deseret News, when they compare this kid's handwriting samples to to reads, they say it's not him. So, I hope they did more than just look at the handwriting. I don't know. Truthfully, I do too. Like a picture of the person, perhaps. All I have documented is that it's about handwriting. I don't know if they checked with the clerk.
Starting point is 00:14:17 Obviously, there's probably no like CCTV in the 60s at this motel. But whatever happens, they rule this out. Now, they go on to speak with various friends and relatives, they get some tips, mostly random potential sightings of read and or the dogs, but investigators can't confirm any of them. Although, at some point, they hear something from a family friend that starts to change the whole narrative around Reed's disappearance, or at least the timeline of it. This friend says that he saw Reed Sunday October 11th around 1 or 130, which would have been after he left the house to take care of his dogs.
Starting point is 00:14:58 This person says that he was near a Catholic girls school called St. Mary's of Wasatch, which is right at the base of the East foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, which is like how far away? Well, it's like a 20-minute walk away when I Googled it. So like, give her take back then, you know, I don't know. But I'm not sure it matters because Suzanne says that she doesn't think that this guy actually saw Reed.
Starting point is 00:15:23 It's reported that he tells police he saw read walking two dogs, but Suzanne says that he only mentioned a dog. And when detectives really drill down and question this tipster, he's not 100% sure it was read at all. But the police, at the time, seem to take this and run with it maybe because they don't have much else. And by February of 1965, police are really targeting that area surrounding St. Mary's for searches. Investigators tell the Salt Lake Tribune that they want hikers and hunters to be on the
Starting point is 00:15:57 lookout for unusual earth mounds and piles of stone, just in case he did meet with foul play and someone buried him. They also tell them to keep their eyes peeled for fallen trees, clumps of shrubs, crevices, and other formations where he might have gotten trapped accidentally. Meanwhile, according to Deseret News reporter Lois M. Collins, the family rallies during this time. Reed's oldest brother, whose a pilot, conducts aerial searches. One of his sisters takes a leave of absence from college to help out and everyone hands out flyers and does what they can to keep efforts going. And then a few months in in the middle of all
Starting point is 00:16:34 these efforts, police in Kansas City call Utah. They say they found Reed. In fact, they say he's right there with them at the station. But when they hand the phone over to a boy they have in custody, as soon as Reed's dad starts talking to him, he knows it's not Reed. And he's right. It turns out to just be another blonde teen just around the same age. Oh wait, so is this kid telling police he's there because he is read or is that just something the police were assuming? I don't know for sure, but I think the boy must have gone along with it
Starting point is 00:17:13 to some extent because Suzanne says that her dad felt really sorry for this kid that he was probably trying to find a new home for himself. So I don't think he was doing anything devious. I think he was potentially going along with that out of desperation. That is survival, yeah. So after that, the family's kind of left rocked. I mean, you can imagine they're probably all so ready for this nightmare to be over and for like a second, they felt like they could breathe again, but then they're just thrown right back into
Starting point is 00:17:41 it. And you know, on top of all that they're feeling and going through missing a family member They also have to deal with a lot of judgment from the community. And don't get me wrong Some people are very supportive like when it comes time to search the nearby foot hills and ravines There were hundreds of volunteers who came out to help But it seems like everyone has an opinion or a theory about where Reed is, and the predominant one among the locals is that, oh, he just left on his own. They start speculating that the Jeppesons must have done something to cause it, something that would drive their son, their brother away. And that makes an already horrible situation even worse, especially given how close
Starting point is 00:18:27 the family is. And that heartbreak takes a toll on everyone, like Reed's dad. Usually he's someone who always had the answers, like you got a problem, he'll know how to solve it. But he can't fix this. And John says that his dad felt like he was losing his good name and that his wife and kids would basically be better off without him. So in December of 1965, this is just a week before Christmas, he takes his own life. This is more than one family should ever have to bear. But this is the ripple effect of crime that we have touched on before. It doesn't just happen to the one person.
Starting point is 00:19:11 It happens to every life that they touch and then the lives that they go on to touch. Now, psychology and mental health experts say that suicide is rarely the result of a single cause or event, and we'll have links in our show notes to this source plus more for those who may be seeking support. But all that to say, I'm not able to say like, he did this because we disappeared. And Susan even told us that he had been taking heart medication that might have affected his mood. But there's no doubt that having a missing child is undeniably one of the most stressful
Starting point is 00:19:46 and devastating experiences that can happen to a person. So to say that it wasn't a large contributor would be ignoring how this family was just irrevocably changed by Reed's disappearance. Ultimately, their mom is left to hold everything together. According to John's YouTube video, she tells them that they have to remember the good times. It's tough to do, but they move forward as a family and they never stop looking for read.
Starting point is 00:20:15 Like literally, everywhere they go. But with a lack of new leads and developments, police end up classifying Reed as a runaway juvenile and may close his case in June of 1966. And that's how his case stayed for nearly half a century. Until March 2, 2010, when hikers looking for antlers just north of Mill Creek Canyon, find a human skull instead. Police descend on this area looking for more bones, and they find enough to form nearly an entire human skeleton. In April, they tell Deseret News reporter Pat Reeve that the remains are from a white male, 17 to 22 years old, who would have been
Starting point is 00:21:06 between 5'7, 6'1 and they think that the bones have been there for at least 10 years. And Reed was 15 and 5'6. So we're like, so close, like in that range. Like close enough. Right. And Mill Creek Canyon is only about 4.5, maybe 5 miles, like as the crow flies from the Jeppesons home. So when Suzanne sees this on the news, here's about this discovery. She picks up the phone and calls Salt Lake City PD. And she's able to get on the phone with Detective Cody Logi, and she tells him she thinks the remains might be her brother, Reed.
Starting point is 00:21:46 Now, there's some jurisdictional stuff because she's calling Salt Lake City PD, but the bones were actually found in a different police agency's jurisdiction. But Detective Logi is still what he can do about it, so he checks their missing person database. And he's surprised to see that there is nothing in their system about RE. What? And he's never heard of the disappearance either,
Starting point is 00:22:10 even though he's been on the force for years. So he's like, okay, let me just like dig into this a little more. He asked the records department to find out if they have anything. And that is when they come across READS long forgotten case file. How could he not be in their database at all? It's a lack of digital records, limited documentation, limited media coverage.
Starting point is 00:22:32 The case just faded into obscurity over time. I have personally been in departments before where in really honest moments detectives will tell me they don't even know how many cold cases they have. And again, it's not because they're not trying. There's just no centralized database anywhere. There's again, if you've got stuff handwritten that has never been digitized, how would you know? And the way that like generationally detectives like come and go, something from the 60s, like how many detectives have been in there since then. This is why I always tell families,
Starting point is 00:23:06 it's so important to keep in touch with police even after years or decades. Like you have to stay front of mind because can you imagine what if a tip or tips had come in over the years about Reed and someone looked it up, someone who wasn't as diligent and was like, oh, I don't see anything in our system.
Starting point is 00:23:25 Yeah. It must not be an actual case. Yeah, throw it in the trash. Oh my god. And I'm not saying that's what happened here, but it's, it's wild. But it could be, and it could be happening to cases as we speak. Yeah. Honestly, this is where I think someone needs to like step in
Starting point is 00:23:38 and make a program in departments that utilizes citizen analysts to digitize stuff. You know, sign the NDAs, do all the stuff, do the background checks, but like, I would volunteer for free for that job all day long, and I could get 1,500 crime junkies to sign up in the next hour. 1,500 is a low number, too, I think. Right, but I digress. So long story short, they now know about reads disappearance again.
Starting point is 00:24:03 And on National Missing Children's Day, which would have been May 25th and this is 2010, Salt Lake City PD officially reopens his case. It is the oldest active missing persons case in the area, one of the oldest in the entire state. Because by now, Reed has been missing for almost 46 years. Oh my god, all that lost time. You're right, and there's no making up for it. almost 46 years. You're right, and there's no making up for it.
Starting point is 00:24:27 For decades, the only people tirelessly looking for Reed was his family. But at least with this reopening, there's some momentum. Police upload DNA samples from Reed siblings to law enforcement databases, which lets them conclusively determine that the bones found in Milk Creek Canyon actually do not belong to Reed. But with all the advancements in forensic science, everyone is hopeful that something is going to shake loose, like something soon has to. So if those remains don't belong to Reed, who do they belong to?
Starting point is 00:24:59 So I actually was able to find this out. It's a little bit of a side tangent. Ultimately, they belong to a guy named Daniel Noe who went missing sometime around September of 78 while hitchhiking from Washington to his home state of Illinois. Police in Cook County, Illinois initially thought that Daniel might have been one of John Wayne Gacy's unidentified victims actually since he fit the profile, but when they uploaded his parents DNA to check, that this match popped up. And from everything I saw online, like Daniel loved, hiking, there were no signs of foul
Starting point is 00:25:30 play, so it sounds like his death had something to do with, I don't know if he got stuck in the elements or whatever, but that's I think what they ruled it as. But to go back to Reed's case, even though those bones weren't his, there is now this renewed investigation, and it's really validating for his family. Because they've been listening to people judge and blame Reed for supposedly running away for years, and now finally, police and the community are listening to them. And at the very least, even if they don't want to listen, even if they still have their own theories, people are paying attention.
Starting point is 00:26:04 And they know this because when the case is highlighted for National Missing Children's Day, there is this flurry of media coverage. Pat Revy reports that the department even launches a new section on their website dedicated slowly to missing people featuring a brand new age-enhanced image of Reed created by the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Starting point is 00:26:25 Children. And this just goes to show what some fresh eyeballs and the power of the press can do, because the very next day, Wednesday, May 26th, police get a call from a woman. Let's call her Miranda. And Miranda has quite a story to tell. One, that honestly, you're not gonna believe. Miranda says that she and her family moved into a house in the Jepsen's neighborhood about four years ago. Her backyard actually butts up against their yard.
Starting point is 00:27:05 Now, Miranda has been aware that Reed is missing because everyone in that neighborhood, again even if the larger community had forgotten about his disappearance, that was something that lived on in that neighborhood. People had mentioned it. But she had no idea that his dogs had vanished right along with him until she saw the recent news coverage. And that's when she had this O-S*** moment. Because you see, the year before, in August, this would have been 2009, Miranda and her husband were really unskipping their backyard, and they were letting their son make this like
Starting point is 00:27:43 airsoft battlefield for him and his friends to use. So her son is like digging these trenches in their yard with a backhoe when he stumbles upon what appeared to be the remains of two dogs. And Brit, they weren't just berry like you would do if the family dog passed away. Both dogs had been surgically dismembered, like the bones had been sawed through with precision, and they were in multiple plastic trash bags. And like five to six feet deep in the ground. What the f***? Now the family could tell when they first found these,
Starting point is 00:28:23 that these were dog bones. It's not like they had any question that, oh, is this human or anything like that. But they were still startled by the finds. Like the circumstances around this are weird. They even show the bones to a neighbor who's a doctor just to get a second opinion. And Miranda says she wanted to call the police
Starting point is 00:28:42 because to her it was just all too weird. But her husband was like, for what? Like we're gonna tell the police we found dog bones? So no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Yeah, they end up just throwing them away. Plastic bags and all. I mean, they had no idea how big of a deal this was, but the one thing I'll say is there is this small saving grace.
Starting point is 00:29:08 Who knows why, probably because this was so unsettling, but they photographed everything that they had found before they tossed it, and they still had the pictures a year later. So they turned them over to investigators who promptly passed them along to bone experts at the University of Utah's Medical Examiner's Office. And then on June 12th, while they're waiting for answers, police scour Miranda's property
Starting point is 00:29:34 with ground penetrating radar, they bring out excavation equipment and five cadaver dogs thinking that, I mean, this has to be it. The dogs and Reed have always been together in people's mind. So, right, if those were his dogs, the dogs then Reed should be nearby. But they do all this digging and penetrating radar and dogs and they don't find anything. Now, in late July, the experts tell police
Starting point is 00:29:59 that as far as they can tell from the photos, the bones are from two dogs, one that is fully grown, and one that is a puppy. Ashley, it has to be best in the little ant. I mean, that's definitely the assumption, but there is no way for investigators to prove it since they don't have the actual bones or even the plastic bags they were in anymore. And also the problem is they can't determine when they were buried.
Starting point is 00:30:26 All they know, based on Miranda's family's account, is that the bones must have been there before the property changed hands, like before they had purchased the home. Okay, so who lived there in 64? That's the key question, right? The answer is technically no one yet. You see in 1964, the property was owned by a man that we're going to call Dr. Hill. He was 37 back then and he was building a house there for his family. The house that Miranda's family would eventually live in. While he's building it, he and his family lived just a few blocks away.
Starting point is 00:31:06 And Suzanne remembers him visiting the site frequently like once or twice a week to check on the progress. Now, police say they moved into the home a few months after Reed went missing. That's when I guess everything was done. And this doctor and his family lived in that house, the house that was a neighbor to the Jeppesons for about 40 years. Now Dr. Hill during this time wasn't particularly
Starting point is 00:31:30 close with the Jeppesons. Suzanne says that one of the Jeppesons girls was friends with one of Dr. Hill's daughters. She remembers her mom like bringing Dr. Hill a casserole when his wife died by suicide in the 1980s? So again, acquaintances like neighbor stuff. And as far as I know, he didn't even talk about Reed's case with them. Like Suzanne doesn't remember him being particularly friendly, but they also weren't suspicious of this guy. At all, he was just... Dr. Hill.
Starting point is 00:32:00 And the fact that the Jeppesons didn't know much about him doesn't even mean he was like a reclusive person. I mean, like, you gotta think about their minds were elsewhere during this time because he moves in after Reed goes missing. So who can blame them for not, you know, going out of their way to forge new friendships? But it also means because their minds were elsewhere
Starting point is 00:32:19 that they weren't necessarily keeping up on the neighborhood gossip. None of that matters when you have a loved one that is missing. So they didn't start hearing the stories about Dr. Hill that were circulating back in the day. Stories that Dr. Hill had a reputation for sexual abuse against minors, including some that were his patients, many of whom were teenage boys.
Starting point is 00:32:48 Now, from what our team was able to put together, this was kind of like an open secret, but like I said, the Jeppesons were in a fog of grief, totally focused on Reed's disappearance and everything that came after. So the stories didn't even mentally register with them that it could be connected. Was Dr. Hill ever convicted of anything? I guess I don't know how the police never put it together. Well, he wasn't. And that's why I'm not even calling him by his real name. There are no reports of Dr. Hill even being violent with anyone. But I know he was previously accused
Starting point is 00:33:24 of some type of sexual abuse or molestation by multiple people. However, only one person ever filed a police report and the statute of limitations was up so he couldn't be charged for that specific crime. And the law that removed the statute of limitations for sex crimes against minors was only passed in 2013. And what you really have to think about, again,
Starting point is 00:33:46 like why this isn't being connected in 1964 potentially is because it was 1964. We're not having the same conversations back then about abuse. In fact, I don't think we were having any conversations about it really at all. People did not want to talk about it and did not talking about it.
Starting point is 00:34:08 That's why I don't think connections were being made that someone who sexually abuses children might also have the capacity to kill them. Plus, they were looking for a runaway this whole time. So the way society viewed all of this really created kind of potentially the perfect storm. Exactly. And there's so much more that looks so bad for Dr. Hill. Cause turns out he's not just any family doctor. Dude is an orthopedic surgeon, a bone doctor.
Starting point is 00:34:42 And another interesting thing is, I know it's probably hard to imagine, but plastic trash bags weren't a commonly used household item actually back in 1964. Oh. Yeah, this isn't something that anyone would just pull out. But they were, however, already being used to dispose of medical waste. So the people who had quick access to them were often in the medical field. And those dogs were in plastic trash bags. In plastic trash bags, and, you know, their bones had been surgically cut.
Starting point is 00:35:14 Yeah, they had been dismembered with like what a surgical precision is what they said. So obviously for investigators, when they're re-looking at this, these are major. Screaming red flags. And in April of 2011, they actually go question Dr. Hill, who is alive at the time and living in a city about four hours south of Salt Lake. He tells police that he doesn't know anything about the bones buried in his old backyard. He doesn't even say he had a dog, because dude, you're the only one who lived in the house. You have to know something. I don't know if he had a dog, but even if he tried saying that according to Suzanne, one of Dr. Hill's daughters denies that they ever had any dogs of their own that they buried
Starting point is 00:35:55 in the yard. So, it doesn't leave a lot of options again. I don't know how he responded, but we know that it couldn't have been one of his dogs. But the other thing is Dr. Hill says that he didn't even know Reed didn't have anything to do with his disappearance. In fact, according to coverage from ABC4U, Todd reporter, Marcos Artees, which in this article, he also doesn't identify Dr. Hill
Starting point is 00:36:16 by name, but Dr. Hill had told investigators that he'd appreciate if they found out who killed Reed. Uh, sir, who out who killed Reed. Uh, sir. Who said someone killed Reed? Exactly. And that's what police jump on. They're like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. How do you know Reed was killed?
Starting point is 00:36:35 Because most of the gossip at the time was about him running away. Yeah, this is a runaway from the neighborhood. And Dr. Hill responds, quote, well, I know that this length of time, they're never going to find out. End quote. And the most chilling part is that he's like laughing as he says it.
Starting point is 00:36:56 Dr. Hill ultimately agrees to take a voice stress test, which he does right at his home. Now, it's not clear if he outright fails, or if the result are inconclusive, but it's actually not a surprise, because bizarrely, Dr. Hill seems to be playing games, deliberately lying to basic control questions. Like, for instance, if investigators point to a green wall
Starting point is 00:37:21 and say, what colors the wall, Dr. Hill says, it's blue or red or whatever, like just screwing around with the people who are administering the test. Why would someone play with a test like that? Well, police think that it's in line with his personality, like they describe him as being exceptionally intelligent, but also arrogant even to the point
Starting point is 00:37:40 where they use the word pompous. So he's just toying with them. Yet pretty much. But apparently he also asked to take a second Boy Stress Test, which that second one he passes. And if you guys haven't heard us say this before, I'll remind you, the reliability of Boy Stress Test in criminal investigation is something
Starting point is 00:37:59 that is highly debated among experts. One 2008 study that questioned participants on recent drug use found that overall these tests are really no better than flipping a coin when it comes to detecting lies. And I'm gonna take a big swing here and say that if it can't detect deception over drug-related lies, it probably isn't any better at detecting deception
Starting point is 00:38:19 about a homicide. Right. So it's not like police lost interest in this guy once he passes that second voice stress test. At some point they even take the cadaver dogs over to his old house, the one that he and his family lived in while their home by the Jeppesons was being built. But even this time they don't find anything.
Starting point is 00:38:38 Okay, to me, I don't think he could have gotten far with Reed, right? Like, the dogs are right there close to home. If you find the dogs, you find Reed. He's got to be in that yard too. I keep thinking the same thing, but Logi, who is a lieutenant, now told us that he doubts that Reed's remains are buried in the yard like where the dogs were because of how thoroughly they searched.
Starting point is 00:39:01 OK, but what about the house itself, though? I mean, it was under construction. All I know is that like a month after Miranda came forward, police did go search again, because she had called them and said, they had some kind of like water main break or something, so they had to dig up parts of their basement, like the actual foundation and Miranda said,
Starting point is 00:39:20 like, hey, you know, if you want to take a second look, now's your time, like we're doing this anyway, so you want to take a second look, now's your time. Like, we're doing this anyway. So yeah. And obviously the department like jumped on it. They again, broadened cadaver dogs for a whole nother sweep. But every time the dogs hit on something, signaling a potential discovery, the excitement quickly turned to frustration because they would dig, hoping to find some evidence, some trace of read only to come up empty every time. I feel like someone's going to know this guy well enough to know where else they should look.
Starting point is 00:39:49 Well, I mean, one of those people I feel like might have been his first wife, but like I said, she's not around anymore. And I know Dr. Hill did remarry, but Detective Logie says that his second wife was totally stunned when police asked her about the whole thing, so they don't feel like she has any insight to his past or what he could have been capable of. And until someone does come forward with more information on Dr. Hill, they've had to kind of limit physical searches to places that tipsters have recommended.
Starting point is 00:40:21 Like in late September of 2012, after police got a tip about a gully that's just a block or so from the Jepsen's house near a middle school. Whoever called in the tip mentioned something about kids hanging out there back in the day, said that some quote unquote weird stuff happened there, although it's not clear what the weird stuff was. But I know that they brought out a cadaver dog that did show some interest in the area. So, investigators did a full-on search, shovels, backhoe, you name it. According to Michael McFalls reporting for the Salt Lake Tribune, I mean, they dig as deep as eight feet. But then, when they, like, it's like the farther they dig, the dog stopped indicating. Oh my god.
Starting point is 00:40:59 Yeah, and cadaver dogs are supposed to be able to distinguish between human and animal remains, but police did find some animal bones possibly from a deer. So again, I don't know how often it happens that dogs get confused or why they were falsely indicating, but there was nothing there that they found. Now they went back and interviewed Dr. Hill again in October of 2013. And at some point, they talked to his former patients and even his kids, but they don't learn anything that leads them to read. So do investigators think that Dr. Hill killed Reed, or at least had something to do with his
Starting point is 00:41:35 disappearance? I mean, they're definitely suspicious. And Suzanne absolutely thinks Dr. Hill's behind what happened to her brother. But the evidence police have isn't enough to make an arrest at this point. I mean, technically, they still don't even know that Reed is dead, even though everyone, like family cops even at this point, believe that he is, because not a whole lot else makes sense. Gordon Parks, a retired investigator who worked Reed's case, says that he doubts someone was just lurking in the bushes, waiting to snatch Reed up.
Starting point is 00:42:12 This random kidnapper would have had to camp out in the backyard the entire Sunday morning waiting for the family to come back from church and then they'd have to know that Reed was going to go outside, alone to feed the dogs. Well, and they would have had to wait for him to get the dogs before grabbing him, right? And not to mention, there would have been like shouting and struggling, the dogs would have started barking. This was their person.
Starting point is 00:42:34 I was just gonna say, like, I don't think a stranger abducts someone with two German short-haired pointer. Like, you know what I mean? Like, for a quick grab. And the dogs don't notice, right? And you'll also have to abduct the dogs. Like, how does that make sense yeah
Starting point is 00:42:45 Someone would have noticed something if all this actually went down because there were people in the house He wasn't there by himself. This was broad daylight and I need to keep reiterating like read wasn't a little kid He was a teenager. He was playing football. He was a strong fit teenage boy. I'm gonna say I have a 15 year old boy I could not kidnap him, 1000%. So I think just a random stranger walking by, it's ruled out. It does make sense. And detectives say that they don't think an abductor would have been able to groom him over time and then kidnap him because they say he was really close with his parents,
Starting point is 00:43:23 not the type to keep big secrets from them. This one for me, I'm not so willing to rule this out. Again, I go back to 1964. These were not conversations. We were not having it. We were not conversations. We were having it. Also, if someone truly is a groomer and has been doing it
Starting point is 00:43:40 and is good at it, there's not feeling like a big secret you were telling your parents. You know what I mean? Mm-hmm. For sure. So what the detectives kind of keep coming back to is they wonder and is good at it. There's not feeling like a big secret you're telling your parents, you know what I mean? For sure. So what the detectives kind of keep coming back to is they wonder if Reed thinking that he had a little time to spare before the Sunday meal
Starting point is 00:43:53 went to visit a friend or a neighbor. And whatever happened, maybe it was a crime of opportunity, maybe someone used a weapon to force him into a vehicle or a home, or maybe he really did have some sort of accident while walking the dogs? And if- No, if there was an accident, I think he would have been found. The dogs would have been found.
Starting point is 00:44:15 This truly does not feel like an accident to me. And I agree. If there was foul play, investigators think that the motive was likely sexual, because that is true of most non-family abductions. We know that now, even if we didn't in 1964. Unfortunately, detectives now won't be able to get many more answers from Dr. Hill, because he died in 2016 when he was 88.
Starting point is 00:44:42 But he is still considered a person of interest in Reed's case. Reed's surviving siblings will always grieve for him. They wonder where life would have taken Reed, who he would have married, what his kids would have been like, what he would have done for a living. Those are things that they'll never know, and they try and keep his memory alive by spending time together at monthly dinners. And they even put a headstone for him at their family's plot. But what they really want is to lay him to rest beside their father and their mother
Starting point is 00:45:15 who died in 1994 never knowing what happened to her son. They also want answers too. Answers that they have been waiting for for far too long? So if you have any information about Rejebsen, please contact Salt Lake City Police at 801-799-3000. And I think there's another important thing to mention. I think there's more information that can be gathered about this Doctor Hill. Again, this isn't his real name, I can't give you a ton of identifying information. But if you grew up in Salt Lake, in the 1960s, and you had an encounter with an orthopedic
Starting point is 00:45:58 doctor, even if it's too late to press charges, even if you don't want to press charges, I would encourage you to come forward and speak with police because there could be additional information gathered that actually helps read. If read is alive today, he would be 74 years old. He's white with medium blonde hair and blue eyes. At the time of his disappearance, he was 5'6' 140 lbs and had braces on his top and bottom teeth. You can find all the source material for this episode on our website, And be sure to follow on our website,
Starting point is 00:46:45 And be sure to follow us on Instagram at crimejunkiepodcast. We'll be back next week with a brand new episode. The Crime Junkie is an audio-check production. So what do you think, Chuck? Do you approve?

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