Teenage Utah farmer missing for more than 2 weeks amid fears of foul play

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A Utah teenager has disappeared from his farm, family members say, and police have found his abandoned boots and truck – and his mum now says she ‘absolutely’ believes foul play is involved in his disappearance.

Dylan Rounds, a 19-year-old Idaho native who started his own business as a farmer in Utah, last spoke to his family just over two weeks ago, according to authorities.

“My son wouldn’t leave this farm on his own,” his mother, Candice Cooley, told Fox News Digital on Wednesday. “He was taken out of it.”

She said she was unaware her son had any enemies, although she believed he had recently fired a farmhand who she said harbored no ill will. The area is very rural, she said, and neighbors mostly live off the grid and keep to themselves.

Dylan Rounds, a 19-year-old Idaho native who started his own business as a farmer in Utah, last spoke to his family on May 28, authorities said.
(Box Elder County Sheriff’s Department)


“I can’t imagine who would want to do anything to our son,” she said. “It blows my mind.”

The Utah farm floor is rugged and covered in thorny brush, Cooley said. She doesn’t believe her son would have walked on it without his boots, or even flip flops. It had also rained a lot this weekend.

She described Rounds as fiercely independent and said he steered clear of drugs, video games and social media.

“Dylan had a farm, Dylan had a purpose, and he had a motivation in life that he wouldn’t let absolutely anything, anything, take him away,” she said. “He’s a kid who’s spent the last three years in the desolate desert digging new ground.”

Dylan Rounds' mother, Candice Cooley, describes him as fiercely independent and hardworking.

Dylan Rounds’ mother, Candice Cooley, describes him as fiercely independent and hardworking.
(Box Elder County Sheriff’s Department)

Investigators say he called his grandmother just before 7 a.m. on May 28 and cell tower data placed his phone on her farm at the time. They found his truck on the property – and his boots 100 yards away, Cooley said.


Rounds is a white male, 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing approximately 160 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.

Deputies from all states in Elko County, Nevada, said they became involved in the case after a report of a hostage situation in Montello on May 31.

The incident turned out to be a false report, Cooley said, but Elko investigators determined the missing teenager had been to the area on May 26, when he was seen at a restaurant. But phone records show he then called family members from Utah.

Cooley said the last known communication was on May 28 with Rounds’ grandmother. When friends and relatives realized two days later that no one else had been in contact with him, she said she called the police to file the missing person report.

“An instant panic set in and we headed straight down,” she said. “I called on my way down to his farm. I live in the Twin Falls area [of Idaho]so I’m only about 2 hours from where his farm is.”


Shortly after the search began, she said, investigators found her son’s boots in the opposite direction of his RV, which she said should have raised more concern.

“Everything should have stopped and it should have been handled 100% differently,” she said.

Anyone with information on Rounds’ whereabouts is asked to call the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office at 435-734-3800.

Search efforts are expected to continue with additional help from outside groups, including EquuSearch, as well as numerous law enforcement agencies.

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