Boyfriend of woman feared dead in North Ogden Divide area disappointed by sheriff’s search effort
This undated photo shows Shelby Campbell and her boyfriend, Andre Erebia. An avid hiker, Campbell went missing Sept. 8, 2020, near the North Ogden Divide.
Dustin Jasmer points to an area that has not yet been checked in the search for Shelby Campbell on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020.
NORTH OGDEN — The rugged North Ogden Divide area is covered with snow this time of year, making any meaningful search for a missing person difficult and dangerous.
But even though they can’t search in force at the moment, loved ones, friends and volunteers keenly hope to find Shelby Campbell, 29, of Roy, who went missing Sept. 8.
“As soon as the weather clears, you bet I’ll be up there,” said Andre Erebia, of Clearfield, Campbell’s boyfriend. “We need that closure. We can’t live this for the rest of our lives, wondering.”
Erebia also has an additional concern. He said he’s disappointed by the effort put forth by the Weber County Sheriff’s Office to find Campbell.
The Sheriff’s Office, which directs the efforts of the county’s volunteer search and rescue team, conducted a full-scale search for more than four days, but then scaled it back.
Hundreds of amateur searchers then stepped in, helped by a Facebook group of more than 5,000 members devoted to sharing information about the search.
“We feel let down by the sheriff’s department,” Erebia said in an interview Thursday. “We feel like they just walked away from this; we didn’t get the full search effort” after the first several days.
Campbell’s car was found at the trailhead, and authorities said they found an apparent suicide note.
Erebia complained that it took weeks for authorities to obtain “ping” information from Campbell’s phone. The data put her phone on the mountain.
“It doesn’t sit well with me that people are going up and disappearing, and they let the mountain claim them and that’s it,” Erebia said.
Erebia said he did not fault search and rescue team members, and he said he and Campbell’s relatives appreciate their efforts and those of the waves of community searchers.
Lt. Cortney Ryan, Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, said the agency is satisfied with the effort it expended in the search, but he understands frustration among Campbell’s friends and relatives.
“We’ve exhausted all of our leads,” Ryan said Friday. “We put in hundreds of hours, used helicopters, drones, cellphone data.”
He said searches are reduced “when we feel like we have covered an area the best we can do.”
“There’s some thick oak brush up there,” Ryan said. “It’s such a large, vast area. To actually cover that ground by foot, that whole area that she could possibly be in, is near impossible.”
He said the case remains open and any new information will be pursued.
“We will try to scrape up anything we can,” he said. “We’re talking about a human life.”
Of Erebia’s comments, Ryan said, “We definitely understand where they are coming from and their frustration. I couldn’t fathom having a loved one here one minute and the next vanished, and the stress and anguish that would cause.”
Ryan said the Sheriff’s Office is confident, though, it has done an excellent job in the investigation toward finding Campbell.
Erebia insisted that more can and should have been done.
“I’m not trying to come at these guys, but I feel it’s been five months, and we are not trained pros, we don’t have access to cadaver dogs, drones, helicopters,” Erebia said. “We’ve been hitting this alone and with hundreds of volunteers, but they left it up to us.”
Ryan said anyone with information about the search for Campbell should call the sheriff’s investigations unit at 801-778-6631.