Body of missing Weber Innovation High teacher recovered in Willard Bay

Wednesday , July 11, 2018 - 1:10 PM

WILLARD — The body of a Weber School District teacher who went missing while paddleboarding in Willard Bay was found Wednesday morning. 

Brandon Larsen, 46, of Perry, had been missing since Sunday, July 8. His death is being investigated as an apparent drowning in the bay, Willard Bay State Park manager James Morgan said. He was not wearing a life jacket.

“Brandon was a father, brother, son, uncle, veteran, and teacher. The loss of him from our lives is indescribable,” Larsen’s family said in a statement. “Brandon’s death was a tragic accident and we would like privacy at this time to mourn the loss of him.”

Larsen taught business at Sand Ridge Junior High School in Roy for 10 years before he moved to Weber Innovation High School in 2016, according to Weber School District spokesman Lane Findlay. He taught business and computer programming. 

“Brandon was beloved by students and highly respected by his peers. Our condolences go out to his friends, family and loved ones,” Findlay said. 

Though school isn’t in session, counselors will be available at Sand Ridge and Weber Innovation for students and employees. 

On Sunday, park employees found some of Larsen’s items on Eagle Beach and took them to the lost and found. Park rangers began investigating further on Tuesday after noticing Larsen’s vehicle hadn’t moved from its original spot.

After rangers determined the keys found in Larsen’s items on the beach belonged to the vehicle, rangers ran the vehicle information and contacted the family.

Family members told park officials that they hadn’t seen or heard from Larsen since Sunday and that he often went out to Willard Bay to paddleboard, Morgan said. 

Land and water search efforts began Tuesday afternoon, and his cellphone was found in a dry-out bag in the north end of the bay. Larsen’s body was found and recovered in the same area around 8 a.m. Wednesday. 

A storm hit Willard Bay Sunday evening, but Morgan said officials didn’t know if it was a contributing factor to the drowning. 

Larsen’s board — a lime green and white Dave Scadden Paddlesports inflatable, Grand Slam model — has not been recovered. 

Anyone who found the paddleboard or saw Larsen out on it on Sunday is urged to contact Willard Bay State Park officials a 435-734-9494. 

Reach digital producer Jessica Kokesh at 801-625-4229 or jkokesh@standard.net. You can also follow her on Twitter at @JessicaKokesh or Facebook.com/ByJessKokesh.

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