SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Police in two states were investigating Tuesday whether a father and son accused in a bizarre Utah kidnapping case had anything to do with the disappearance of a 63-year-old train maintenance worker who went missing amid a five-day manhunt for the two suspects.
Kay Porter Ricks reported for his start of his shift Thursday afternoon, but he stopped answering his radio that night, a family spokesman said. Ricks hasn't been seen since.
Searchers in Wyoming have combed the backwoods for his Utah Transit Authority pickup truck, and they are planning to use sonar to search a lake near the campsite on Wednesday.
The vehicle was last spotted about 5 p.m. driving near a Salt Lake City train station a few miles from where police believe the two kidnap suspects were hiding out with a friend.
Investigators believe Ricks was behind the wheel, but they aren't sure. His cellphone was found near a station across town that night, but searchers combing his route and talking to people haven't turned up any clues, said family spokesman Richard Massey.
The two suspects, Flint Wayne Harrison, 51, and Dereck James "DJ" Harrison, 22, eventually worked their way from the Salt Lake City area to a makeshift campsite in Wyoming. They were arrested over the weekend after the father turned himself in to authorities.
The pair agreed Tuesday to be extradited back to Utah to face 16 charges each, including kidnapping and drug possession.
Meanwhile, police are piecing together how the father and son managed to dodge officers during the manhunt that started after a woman and her four daughters escaped from a Utah basement.
Police say the men were using drugs and tied up the women on May 10 because they wrongly thought the mother had reported them to authorities.
It's not clear how the pair traveled the nearly 250 miles between Salt Lake City and the remote campsite near the elder Harrison's home in Pinedale, Wyoming. Neither man is talking to police. Investigators say it's possible that a relative or friend picked them up and drove them, but they don't yet have a good explanation.
While there's no strong evidence of a connection to the missing worker, his disappearance is concerning, police said.
Ricks is a reliable employee unlikely to take off during his shift, and he didn't show warning signs such as money troubles, depression or other serious health problems, police said.
"This isn't your typical guy that's just going to go missing," said Lt. Von Steenblik of Centerville, Utah, police.
Ricks is a devout Mormon who's worked for the transit authority for 10 years and sticks to his schedule like clockwork, Massey said.
He's married with three children and six grandchildren. The day he disappeared, Ricks left his house but turned around because he'd forgotten to kiss his wife on the way out the door, Massey said.
"He only wanted to be with one person, and that was his wife," he said.