What Happened to Reed Jeppson?

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SALT LAKE CITY — Doctor Edward Mayer Jeppson married Elizabeth Taylor on April 13, 1935, at Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the couple had several children together.

One of their children, Reed Taylor Jeppson, was born in Salt Lake City on May 28, 1949. In the fall of 1964, Reed was 15 years old, a sophomore at East High School, and a football team member. He was popular and a good student who had many friends. Reed also had friends in Montana, where his family owned a summer home. 

He loved the outdoors and training his two short-hair German Pointers for bird hunting. Reed kept his dogs about 200 yards from his family home at 151 Browning Ave S, near Emigration Canyon.

On Sunday, Oct. 11, 1964, Reed Jeppson and his family spent the morning in church. When they returned home, Reed changed his clothes and fed his dogs. Afterward, he took the dogs on a walk. He told his sister, Suzanne, he would return within a half hour for dinner.

Around 1:00 p.m., a friend saw Reed walking his dogs near the Old St. Mary of the Wasatch building near Wasatch Boulevard. This was the only reported sighting of Reed. The teenager and his dogs vanished without a trace and have never been found. He was last seen wearing blue Levi jeans, a white cotton shirt, gym shoes, and a reversible parka with one side black and the other blue, according to Angelica N. Sumter’s article on The Criminal Journal.

There were possible sightings of Reed Jeppson after his disappearance, but nothing came of them. Despite a search and investigation, police found no trace of Reed Jeppson.

The Jeppson family never believed Reed ran away. Before his disappearance, Reed had scored his first touchdown for his high school football team. He left his personal belongings and did not take any money with him.

Leads ran dry, and police stopped actively investigating the case in 1966. Authorities closed the case 30 years later, in 1996.

The Jeppson family suffered greatly from the loss of Reed, and never knowing his fate haunts them to this day.

Reed’s father passed away a little over a year after his son vanished. Elizabeth later married Doctor Don Carlos Markham, a dentist, in 1986. In 1994, Elizabeth passed away at the age of 81.

Per her obituary, before her death, Elizabeth said:

I was blessed with 13 children and loved each one dearly. Three have preceded me in death, and I am looking forward to being with them again. Truly my children are `the jewels in my crown.’ I have loved my life on this earth and am grateful to my Heavenly Father and Savior for priceless blessing through His Atonement and for providing me with such wonderful friends and loved ones.

In May of 2010, near what would have been Reed Jeppson’s 61st birthday and almost 46 years after he vanished, Salt Lake City police reopened his case. It is the oldest active missing persons case in the department. 

Detectives said they would take DNA samples from Reed’s family members to assist in the investigation.

Around this time, the Jeppson family placed a headstone for Reed in Larkin Sunset Lawn Cemetery in Salt Lake City.

In 2012, Salt Lake police searched an east-side gully with shovels and a backhoe concerning Reed Jeppson’s case. Police cordoned off the gully, near 1400 East and 1400 South, to search for the teen’s remains.

Cadaver dogs showed some interest in a particular area of the gully. After digging 8 feet down, the dogs stopped, indicating there was nothing to dig for, Ashdown said.

Detective Josh Ashdown said new information led police to search but declined to give specifics about the tip. Nothing else has happened with the case since 2012.

Reed’s siblings continue to hold out hope their brother will be found.

True Crime Diva’s Thoughts

Many reports say Reed Jeppson vanished on Oct. 12th instead of the 11th. This cannot be correct because Monday would have been a school day. He and his family went to church that day, and he was last seen at 1 p.m. If it were the 12th, Reed would have been in school at that time.

I searched for other disappearances in the area around the time Reed disappeared. There wasn’t any until 1973 when 17-year-old Darrel B. Nichols vanished from nearby Park City, UT. The two cases may be related, but it’s hard to tell because few details are available in Darrel’s case. He was last seen with friends. After that, nobody knows.

Like his family, I believe Reed Jeppson met with foul play. In cases where the victim was walking their dog, the dog usually returned home. So, that tells me something terrible happened to Reed AND his dogs. 

The neighborhood the Jeppson’s lived in is a nice residential area, so I wonder if the kidnapper lived nearby and knew Reed. It’s interesting that the police searched the gully near their home. Someone believed they would find something there. Why?

What do you think happened to Reed Jeppson?

1 comment

disqus_ELRIsqE5pi September 11, 2020 - 1:30 PM

My little old 2 cents is that if he was abducted he knew the abductor. I don’t see a young athletic male being forced into a vehicle with animals in tote as an easy thing to do. Even at gun point doesn’t seem reasonable. Being abducted in broad daylight in a populated area doesn’t seem likely either. Maybe it was a jealous school mate? Jealous of his athletics? Just a thought.

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True Crime Diva

True Crime Diva

I've blogged true crime since 2010, happily taking up only a tiny corner of the internet. I'm not here for attention; I'm here to tell you their stories.

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