Anthony Hager

LINCOLN COUNTY — On Saturday, June 11, 2022, at around 4 p.m., Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) deputies responded to a report of a suspicious, abandoned vehicle on Dempsey Road, west of State Highway 233, about nine miles south of Lake Viva Naughton Reservoir, in unincorporated Lincoln County, Wyoming, north of Kemmerer, Wyoming.

On arrival, deputies learned from a concerned citizen that the vehicle had been parked off of the side of the road unoccupied for several days, and that the truck was registered to Anthony “Tony” Hagler, 45, of Kemmerer, Wyoming. Through the course of investigation, investigators determined that Hagler was last seen on surveillance footage from a local business leaving Kemmerer on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

After investigating the immediate scene where the vehicle was located, LCSO deputies notified Lincoln County Search and Rescue, who initiated a canvas search of the surrounding area with negative results.

In the following days, as deputies continued to investigate the exact details of Hagler’s presumed disappearance, with the assistance of the Kemmerer and Diamondville police departments, the Bureau of Land Management and the Wyoming Game and Fish, search efforts continued, including a search of the Hams Fork River from the reservoir all the way to Kemmerer, drone flights of the desert surrounding Hagler’s vehicle, and a helicopter search of Dempsey Ridge and the surrounding area — all with negative results.

On Friday, June 17, 2022, a human remains detection team comprised of a Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue volunteer, Joyce Fett, and her canine partner, Journey, a four-yearold, female Belgian Malanois, specifically trained to find the odor of decomposing human remains, were dispatched to the area in an effort to eliminate the possibility that Hagler was deceased nearby.

During the search, K9 Journey indicated to Fett to the odor of human remains, but given prevailing wind and weather conditions, was unable to pinpoint the exact source of the odor.

On Sunday, June 19, 2022, at approximately 8:30 a.m., during a follow-up grid-search by law enforcement and volunteers concentrated in the immediate area of where K9 Journey had positively indicated to the present odor of human remains, sadly, searchers discovered Hagler’s body less than one-half mile from where K9 Journey had alerted to the scent days prior.

While law enforcement officials have no evidence to suspect foul play at this time, the discovery of Hagler’s remains and the investigation surrounding his disappearance are still under active investigation by LCSO.

The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank LCSO, Lincoln County Search and Rescue, the Kemmerer Police Department, Diamondville Police Department, Bureau of Land Management and the Wyoming Game and Fish for the opportunity to assist with this tragic situation and sincerely hopes that the outcome helps to eventually bring closure to Hagler’s friends and family.

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