Investigation continues into Mt. Pleasant man’s homocide
Condition of body making cause of death determination difficult
BIRDSEYE, Utah County—Investigators are still trying to determine how the body of a Mt. Pleasant man ended up in a shallow grave in Utah County near the Sanpete County line two weeks ago.
Wesley Dee Nay, 22, had been missing for more than a month when hunters found his body, badly burned, in a partially dug grave near the county line. Authorities are investigating the death as a homicide.
“The fact that he was found in a shallow grave that’s not in a cemetery—that in itself is not normal,” Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said. Police in Utah County are taking the lead in the investigation because that is where the body was found, but Cannon said the Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office and Mt. Pleasant Police Department are assisting with the investigation.
No arrests have been made.
“We’re hoping to be able to make an arrest, but we don’t have enough information at this point,” Cannon said. Since there were no known witnesses, investigators are talking with Nay’s friends and family and visiting places he liked to go—all in an effort to develop information that could lead to an arrest.
“We’re following up on leads,” Cannon said. “There’s always speculation going about. Sometimes the speculation is realistic and truthful; other times, it’s just guessing.”
Cannon said the person or people responsible for depositing Nay’s body in the shallow grave also set the body on fire. That has made pinpointing the exact cause of death difficult (Nay’s body was identified using dental records). At press time, Cannon said investigators were still working on determining what caused Nay’s death.
Family and friends were struggling to accept the news.
“It’s the worst news ever, really,” Laurie Moser, a cousin, said. Moser, who lives next door to Wesley Nay’s parents, Danny and Connie, said she watched Nay grow up from the time he was 8 years old.
“He was always smiling. He had a heart of gold,” Moser said. “He was a great kid who didn’t deserve an ending like this.”
Moser said Nay had been missing since late August or early September. Just hours before his body was found on Thursday, Oct. 20, she had reached out to the Messenger to have a missing-person flier inserted in the newspaper, in hopes of finding Nay or gaining more information on his whereabouts.
Ashley Nay, his sister, said rumors of his death had been circulating the community as early as one week after he went missing, but the family didn’t want to believe the rumors.
“Everyone was telling us. It was on Facebook, it was everywhere,” she said. “We were just hoping that he ran out of state with a girlfriend or something, just to get away.”
Nay said her brother was in a rough spot, even contemplating suicide at one point. But she said he didn’t want to die.
“He just needed help,” she said. “I know he didn’t want to die.”
Stacie Miner, a friend, remembered Nay as a sympathetic, artistic young man.
“He was an amazing artist,” she said. “He was really an honest person, very polite.”
Miner said Nay had been struggling for some time and she would often see him alone, riding his bike around town. Sometimes he came over to her place to talk.
“The first time it was like, ‘Okay, I need to hide my valuables.’ But he wasn’t like that at all,” she said. “I just let him keep coming back. Just pull up a chair and we can talk, you know—that’s what I told him.”
Miner and a friend, Mandy Tucker, are organizing an event to celebrate Nay’s life this weekend. Friends, family, and members of the community are encouraged to come by and share memories, sing, and pray together.
“We’ll play some of his favorite songs, have a prayer, stuff like that,” Miner said. “It’ll be a celebration of his life.”
Friends will gather at 2 p.m. at the Mt. Pleasant City Park on Saturday. If it rains, Miner said the event would go on—they’ll just move under the pavilion.
“He was pretty well known all around Sanpete,” she said. “We have all these people stepping up saying they’re going to be there.”
Moser said a savings account has been set up in Wesley Nay’s name at Cache Valley Bank in Mt. Pleasant. People can make donations to help pay for funeral expenses.
The family is in the process of making arrangements for a memorial service, Moser said.
Miner said she hopes the news of Nay’s death will remind people to be inclusive and caring.
“If you see somebody struggling, don’t judge them,” she said. “Everyone has a past. So many people are pushed away. We need to put the judgments aside and help people.”