KINGMAN — The case of a couple missing for nearly 10 months has become a death investigation after one of two sets of remains found in the Arizona Strip was identified as Susan Marie McFalls.
McFalls, 63, and her husband, Jerry, were reported missing in January by family members who became concerned when no one could make contact with them.
On Thursday, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the female body found two weeks ago near the Virgin River Gorge has been identified as Susan McFalls. The other set of remains have not been identified.
Anita Mortensen, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said Thursday that Susan McFalls’ remains were confirmed through medical records and a medical device found with the remains.
Both sets of remains have been forwarded to the FBI Crime Lab for scientific examination and authorities hope to determine the manner and approximate time of their deaths, Mortensen said.
The search for the McFalls was launched as a missing persons case in January after a relative requested that the sheriff’s office conduct a welfare check at the Littlefield home where the McFalls lived during the winter months. The couple also owned a home in West Jordan, Utah.
According to reports earlier this year, a family member said that Susan McFalls texted her on Jan. 11, letting her know they were preparing to return to Utah. They never arrived nor were they seen anywhere else again.
Mohave County deputies reportedly searched on and around the McFalls’ property in Littlefield but found no clues to the couple’s whereabouts. The couple’s vehicles and pets were found at the home and nothing appeared to be missing from the residence. One report said the television was on and it appeared that someone had been in the process of cooking a meal.
Volunteers searched the area on and off for several months without finding any trace of the couple.
The disappearance was the subject of an episode of “The Vanished Podcast,” and rewards exceeding $10,000 for information about the McFalls’ whereabouts produced few leads.
On Oct. 15, the sheriff’s office received a call about possible human remains found near Virgin River Gorge, a canyon between St. George, Utah, and Beaver Dam, Arizona, about 15 miles northeast of Lttilefield on Interstate 15. On Oct. 18, the sheriff’s office issued a short release about the discovery, noting that the FBI’s Evidence Response Team and FBI Crime Lab were assisting in the investigation.
That investigation is ongoing, Mortensen said.