Reed Taylor Jeppson, age 15, went missing from Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 11, 1964.

It was a Sunday, and the Jeppson family had just returned home to 1951 Browning Avenue, after attending church.  Reed’s sister was starting dinner, when Reed came into the kitchen and opened cans of dog food. He then left the house to feed and walk his two German Shorthaired Pointer dogs – one of which was a puppy.

A friend reported seeing Reed with his dogs near the now defunct St. Mary of the Wasatch school, not far from the Jeppson home. This is the last reported sighting of Reed and his dogs.

By all accounts, Reed was not a troubled child and he had no reason to run away.  He was the son of a doctor, and he had eleven siblings.

He was on East High School’s football team and had just scored his first touchdown.  He also had a paper route, and the money he had saved was left at home, along with all his other belongings. It’s possible he had $40 in cash on him when he vanished.

Although there was an intensive search for Reed at the time of his disappearance, his case quickly went cold and for decades, it was not investigated.

Recently, at the urging of Reed’s family, it has been looked at again.  A tip was received which led police to search a gully near Clayton Middle School, about half a block from the Jeppson home.  Cadaver dogs initially showed interest in a specific spot, and it was excavated, but the dogs eventually stopped indicating anything was there.  The search was halted at that time.

It is not believed that Reed left of his own accord, and his brothers and sisters continue to search for him.  His parents have since died; his father passed just over a year after his disappearance.

Although I do tend to agree with Reed’s family, who insists he would not have run away, I find a stranger abduction unlikely also. Reed was an athletic, muscular teen, and he had two dogs with him.  It was the middle of the day, and the area was not secluded.   He would not have been an easy target.

There is the possibility that Reed could have been offered a ride home from a stranger, that he might ordinarily have accepted.  It was much more common back then, and I’ve never seen any indication from his family one way or the other, as to whether he would have accepted a ride from a stranger.

I feel that it’s a mostly moot point anyway.  Because he was walking his dogs and was very close to home, it doesn’t make sense to me that he would have accepted a ride, even from someone he knew well.  That would defeat the whole purpose of walking the dogs.

I’ve wondered if perhaps Reed encountered someone who asked him for help, and he went with them?  Or less likely, that one of his dogs got away from him and he’d gone into a secluded area to retrieve the dog, and something happened there.  I had also considered the idea that he’d been hit by a car and the driver panicked – but I find it unlikely that this could have occurred without anyone seeing anything, and I think the dogs would have been found if this were the case.

Since the school where Reed was last seen closed down in 1969, I’ve been unable to map the route he would have taken home to see if there were any wooded areas or rivers near where he was walking.

I am wondering what type of tip was received that led police to search the gully.  Did the tipster have an idea of who might have been involved or what the motive might have been? The fact that the dogs hit initially kind of makes me think there was something to it.

I am hopeful that someone out there has the missing piece of the puzzle, that can bring Reed home to his family.


The Charley Project


Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune

Fox 13

Porchlight International

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5 thoughts on “Reed Jeppson

  1. Meaghan, Reed’s home address, school location & other mapping details are located in the Porchlight articles in your links.

    • Hi,

      Thank you for commenting! I saw that you addressed your comment to
      Meaghan, and just wanted to quickly clarify that she is the administrator of the amazing Charley Project, not this site.

      As for the location of the St. Mary of the Wasatch school, I didn’t see anything specific enough to be comfortable mapping his route. It was said to be near Wasatch Blvd, but that’s a pretty long road, and “near” is subjective. I didn’t see an address or specific intersection of where the school was, even in its Wikipedia entry.

  2. To quote police saying they, “never give up on a case”, yet, closed this one without conclusion & left it untouched for 46 years speaks volumes about their laziness & incompetence. Even without cold case units over the years, many jurisdictions required detectives fill out DD5 reports to be added to cold case files, if not annually, at least every couple years. Even if there was no new info or time for re-investigations & the detectives just glanced over cases before re-shelving them, DD5’s proved attempts were made to acknowledge cases with professional paper trails. To not touch them for DECADES is incredibly unprofessional & a slap in the face to victims loved ones, not to mention, makes cases ridiculously hard to ever solve. Over time, witnesses die, memories fade, suspects are harder to locate & continue to victimize, evidence is destroyed, landscapes change, etc. The same thing happened with Sister Cathy Cesnik’s murder case here in Baltimore. When all involved were interviewed after Netflix premiered “The Keepers” last year, police admitted her case was shelved from 1975 until 1995 when the 2 priest abuse victims came forward. After those cases bombed, Cesnik’s case file collected dust again for another 20 years. Pretty pathetic, if you ask me! 😦

  3. I think that it’s possible Reed was abducted by someone he knew, like a church member he would have been obident too and felt comfortable to go with willingly, also accounting for the dogs. He is a good-looking young man and it’s a rampid offense that plagues religious organizations, such as the Morman church.

  4. There is a theory that comes to my mind avery time I read about this case. I believe one of his dogs or both fell somewhere (a river, a kind of hole, a ravine…) and he had an accident trying to save them. I have two dogs also and I would risk my life without any doubt if they were in danger. The other dog may have died too trying to save Reed, we know the level of loyalty these animals are capable to display. I don’t know the area, but I would check ravines, rivers, lakes…
    I hope Jeppson family could have answers soon.

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