CISCO, Utah (AP) – Bones found along Interstate 70 in eastern Utah are likely those of a missing Denver man whose business partner has been charged with beating him to death.
Although investigators are awaiting DNA tests to confirm the bones are those of Hae C. Park, 64, dental records match those of the Denver businessman who disappeared in March 2010.
A traveler found the bones near Cisco, Utah, in April, Grand County sheriff’s investigator Brent Pace said.
The man “stopped at the exit to walk his dog, walked down the wash, kicked something, and it was a jawbone,” Pace said.
He said authorities investigated and found more bones, including a skull that had suffered repeated blows.
Prosecutors in Colorado charged Joong Rhee, 67, with first-degree murder in April 2010 in Park’s death. Rhee and Park were business partners in a Moab, Utah, motel.
Rhee has pleaded not guilty. A trial is set for Oct. 3.
Park’s son Jung Park, who now runs the motel, said he contacted authorities after seeing news reports about the discovery of the bones and a picture of the jawbone. It seemed similar to dental work his father had done in Korea, which he confirmed with records from a Korean hospital.
The family has been struggling to understand what happened to their father, but Jung Park told The Salt Lake Tribune finding the bones could help bring some closure. They have already purchased a burial plot in Denver.
“Maybe after we bury him we’ll feel that this is really over,” he said. “Still, I’m glad he’s found now. But we still have a long way to go.”
Jung Park, 42, described his father as a “hard worker.” He said his father was a strict parent but a “good person” who willingly helped others, especially those who were less fortunate.
“He was a very outgoing person,” Jung Park said. “He loved people.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)