SALT LAKE CITY (KTVX) — Soon after graduating from high school, Dylan Rounds set out to complete his plan: He wanted his own land to farm.
And that’s what he was doing along the Nevada-Utah border when he suddenly vanished.
“This began on Monday, Memorial Day, May 30th when we figured out that nobody had seen my son for a couple of days,” said his mother Candice Cooley.
For the past year, Rounds lived in an RV camper on his property in Box Elder County along the Nevada-Utah border.
“Dylan’s been working on this farm, in Utah, his own farm, on getting the ground torn out and getting prepared for his crop,” said Cooley. “This year was going to be his first crop. That farm was his whole life.”
On Memorial Day weekend his Idaho family traveled to the farm after failing to hear from him. The place was abandoned.
“We’ve been searching, been looking everywhere,” Cooley said. “Search and rescue came out that first weekend and we located his boots.”
His mother said the boots were a short distance away from his RV camper and it was the only pair he owned.
“At that point, it should have been treated as foul play,” thought Cooley. “You just don’t see someone’s boots in the desert that’s missing.”
On the Box Elder County sheriff’s Facebook page, they considered it a “missing persons case.” They’ve received tips and continue to “search the Lucin (a nearby town) area.”
The sheriff’s post said his pickup truck was found on his property and he is believed to be on foot.
Private investigator Jason Jensen is also looking into this case. He told NewsNation during a live stream Wednesday night the truck is suspicious.
Cooley said despite recent rains before his disappearance, it appeared not to have been moved, raising more suspicions.
“It’s like it never moved in the rain or took it anywhere on Saturday like they originally thought,” she said.
Wednesday, before he was last seen in nearby Lucin, he told his mother of a man walking barefoot along the road.
“He said ‘mom you wouldn’t believe this guy who jumped out of the desert,’” Cooley said. “‘He was bloody, didn’t have any shoes on. He wanted a ride. I didn’t give him a ride.’”
In Lucin, the family learned the identity of the man. But she said the man called her voluntarily and didn’t know where Rounds could be.
Jensen sees room for suspicion in that very act, however.
“If somebody reaches out it’s because they’re innocent or trying to throw off any trail that leads to them,” Jensen said during NewsNation’s live stream.
Cooley said the man claimed to have an alibi. She supplied the name to the sheriff and is unsure whether he’s been cleared. She is unsure if authorities feel likewise.
Search and rescue units from both Box Elder County and nearby Nevada have continued to search the area. But there’s still no sign of him.
“He was so excited when I talked to him Thursday,” Cooley recalled. “He said ‘my grain’s growing and it’s coming up. I’m going to get a crop this year.’ (He was) just ecstatic, high on the world and (then) just vanished, not a trace.”
Cooley said they found at least three persons of interest on their own. Two were former employees of Rounds. She forwarded the names to the sheriff’s office.
Meanwhile, the family has a $20,000 reward for any information that can help solve where Dylan Rounds is. If you have any information, you are asked to call 208-604-3838 or 208-604-3839.
NewsNation contributed to this report.
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