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  1. #1

    ID - Tyler Thoroman, 21, Twin Falls County, 17 April 2010

    This young man's body was found in a burned car on a dirt road near a reservoir. It took them a week and a half to identify the body as Tyler Thoroman, a 21 year old resident of Twin Falls County. They are still searching for a person of interest, and are investigating the case as a possible homicide. Maybe members here can do some sleuthing and help find out what happened to him. Article from the Times News in Twin Falls here: http://magicvalley.com/news/local/ar...tml?mode=story.

    See this thread: http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82373 for information about cases with similar circumstances. The discussion turns to Tyler's case on page 5 of that thread, and posts by WS member, nmr, provide some really good information about who Tyler was and other details about the case.
    Last edited by OkieGranny; 07-15-2015 at 05:15 AM. Reason: broken link

  2. #2
    Based on the description in the above-linked article of where the body and car were found, I believe it must have been about a mile and a half out Norton Bay Rd. Here is a link to a Google Map of Norton Bay Rd: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...14548&t=h&z=11. You can see Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir, which is where the road leads; Jackpot, NV to the south; Twin Falls, ID to the north; and U.S. Highway 93 running generally north and south.

  3. #3

    Person of Interest

    Description of a person of interest that is being sought by the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Department: A male with tanned skin, possibly Hispanic or Native American, between 5'10" and 6-foot tall. He has a medium build and was wearing a plaid shirt, blue heans, and a brown bandanna.

    According to this article: http://www.magicvalley.com/news/loca...bd1805967.html, the person of interest is not yet considered a suspect in the case.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmictadpole View Post
    Based on the description in the above-linked article of where the body and car were found, I believe it must have been about a mile and a half out Norton Bay Rd. Here is a link to a Google Map of Norton Bay Rd: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...14548&t=h&z=11. You can see Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir, which is where the road leads; Jackpot, NV to the south; Twin Falls, ID to the north; and U.S. Highway 93 running generally north and south.
    Thanks for mapping this out - this is the road I also had figured out it was on. KTVB, I believe, has pictures of the exact location - you can still see the patch of burned ground in the pictures. I'm hoping I can use those pictures to help me find the spot when I visit.

  5. #5
    Good point, nmr. Is this the article you're referring to?: http://www.ktvb.com/news/local/Offic...-93078984.html I looked through the pictures, and I can't really see anything specific in them, but it could be my screen resolution. What I do see in some of the pictures is a fairly narrow road, which would be a really odd place for someone to park voluntarily. If it were a parking area or a road with a wide turnout area, it would make more sense to me that a car was found there. I hope you're able to get some information or a feeling for what happened. I imagine it will be really emotionally difficult for you to be there, and I admire you for wanting to go and see if you can get some answers anyway. Hang in there and stay strong!

  6. #6
    Well, I'm finding it really hard to believe that there hasn't been a peep about Tyler in the media since an article on May 8th stating that the person of interest is still being sought: http://magicvalley.com/news/local/ar...tml?mode=story. I really hope, as nmr said, that they have leads that they're pursuing but that they're just not discussing them with the media so as not to jeopardize their case. It just seems like they could at least issue a statement saying that they're still investigating so that the public wouldn't wonder if they'd dropped the ball. Anyway, here is a list of questions that I've got so far about the case, some of which might be difficult to think about:

    1. Was the body in the driver's seat of the car or in a passenger seat or the trunk?
    2. Was the car in the middle of the road, or off to the side as if it had been parked?
    3. Was there any indication that the car had wrecked or had been damaged prior to being burned?
    4. Were the windows rolled down or were they all the way up?
    5. Were there propane tanks in the car or evidence of any other accelerant present?
    6. Where did the information about the person of interest come from?
    7. What kinds of activities take place out by the Salmon Dam/what kinds of people hang out there?
    8. A Twin Falls man drove off of the Snake River Canyon rim on Friday night, the 16th. Could Tyler have known him and been upset about it?
    9. Were he or his family wealthy?
    10. Was the deputy who found him on a routine patrol, or did someone/something alert him to the car?
    11. Was there any indication that he was depressed or that something had happened recently that upset him greatly? (I only ask this because some of the previous similar deaths had been ruled to be suicides, and though I don't believe it is likely in this case, I wonder if the investigators will consider that angle).

    Well, enough questions for now. I have more that I may add later.

  7. #7
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    I'm glad to see that there's still some interest in this case. I'm Tyler's oldest brother, and I've been watching these threads for a while, trying to work up the will to speak. It's been hard, Tyler's death has really crushed our family. And the police told us not to speak about the case while they were investigating, to prevent rumors from spreading and tainting the investigation. However, it seems they then went and spread bizarre rumors themselves, and the main result is that we've felt isolated. It made us feel like nobody cared, and the lack of discussion or interest in the case still makes it feel that way.

    We're still waiting on the autopsy to be completed, hoping they'll find something, anything, that will help the investigation. For the most part, it seems that the police have given up on the case, and just want to call it a suicide. The coroner apparently disagrees, but they may still not be able to provide us with any closure.

    I feel that right from the start, there should have been some kind of public inquiry, something on the news, asking if anyone had seen Tyler that night, or the day after, or if anyone had any information. But who's going to remember those little details, after all this time? They should have treated it like a missing person case, at least until the body was officially identified.

    I'll try to gather my thoughts, and post whatever information I can that I think is relevant to the case. First, I'll answer what questions I can.

    1. The body was found in the back seat, curled up. I don't know which side. Though it can hardly be called a body, apparently. Everyone keeps saying corpse or body, but then I hear that there's hardly any tissue to examine, so it's probably more of a skeleton than a body. The police haven't been very forthcoming with information. When they first showed up at our door Sunday night, they didn't even tell us the car was a burned out wreck with a body inside, just that it had "been found in a weird place".

    7. I hear that there's nothing out there, no reason to go out there. But I've never been there, and as far as I'm aware, neither had Tyler. The police asked if Tyler was an outdoorsy sort of person, which he's not.

    8. I doubt that Tyler knew the man who drove over the rim, though it's hard to tell since I haven't been able to find out who that was. Even if he did, it's incomprehensible that it would drive him to suicide.

    9. None of us are wealthy. We're very frugal people who manage to stay out of debt for the most part, but none of us make enough to really accumulate much.

    11. There was no indication that Tyler was depressed at all. The last time anybody saw or heard him, he was happy. He's always smiling, singing, on top of the world. He simply wasn't the kind of person to get depressed or upset. He was confident in his ability to solve life's problems.

    Tyler had been meeting a lot of new people the week or so before he disappeared. One of them is probably responsible for this tragedy, though it could just as easily be some random act of violence by some unknown person. In any case, Tyler was in a great mood, had lots of plans for the future, both near and far, and was really enjoying life. It's completely incomprehensible to us that it could be a suicide. There's simply not much evidence, because it was all so effectively destroyed. It seems like someone just tried to make it look like a suicide.

  8. #8
    Mjolnir - Thank you so much for posting. I am incredibly sorry for your loss! This case has touched me since the moment I heard that the person was identified as a 21-year-old young man. I googled his name and the picture of a very sweet looking boy came up and I thought, 'that could be my cousin or my best friend.' Everything I've learned since has made it seem so unlikely that this person would want to kill himself or that anyone else would want to kill him. And now reading your words about your little brother brings tears to my eyes. I know I can't begin to understand what you're going through, but it must be a nightmare. When I saw that some of the cases in Utah were ruled as suicides, I started to worry that maybe that would happen here too. It seems like an easy copout for the police if there isn't some other obvious cause immediately at hand. I hope that you and your family are able to make your voices heard and that the investigators will pursue this until they've exhausted every lead. You'd be surprised - some people have trouble remember certain things, but other things stick in people's memories for whatever reason. If you ask me what I was doing a month ago, I might not remember, but if I looked in my cell phone to see what calls/texts I received that day, I might remember that that was the weekend I took a trip down to Jackpot (for example). From there I could start to search my memory for anything out of the ordinary I'd seen along the way...

  9. #9
    I could be wrong, but I think if there was a huge outcry from the public, the media might feel like they should run some more stories about this. And if the media ran enough stories asking "what's going on in the case?" and "where is the information?", the investigators might be pressured into working harder to find out what happened. I would think that their public image is somewhat important to them. Unfortunately, as I've experienced, I don't think much of the public is aware of this case, thanks to the complete lack of media coverage. I'm not sure how to get the word out there. I did speak (via email) to a reporter who wrote some of the stories tying the other three cases in Utah together. Perhaps he could give us some advice about how to get this case more coverage...

    I agree that there should have been a public request for information right away - maybe with family or some info about Tyler to give him a face so people feel more of a connection to the story. I realize that your family may have had personal reasons for not going on TV, and I don't criticize you at all. However if the police advised you against doing so and you wanted to, then I think that was a mistake on their part.
    Last edited by Cosmictadpole; 05-18-2010 at 01:25 PM. Reason: More info. Adding another thought.

  10. #10
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    Just judging from my reading over the years, I have strong doubts that this was a suicide. Almost always, self-immolations occur under very particular, discernible circumstances. Destroying evidence, even evidence of identity, is a far more common cause of such fires.

    My thoughts go out to the family.


  11. #11
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    Summary of events

    Here's everything I can think of about the case, as chronologically as possible. Some of this information is second or third hand, and might not be entirely accurate.

    On Saturday night, April 17, 2010, Tyler was talking with a known friend around 10:30PM, making plans for the next day.

    At about 11:20PM, Tyler was recorded on the local Walmart security cameras. He had bought a gas can. We don't know if he bought anything else at Walmart, or anywhere else. This was, as far as the coroner knows, his last purchase. If the police have other information, they haven't told us or the coroner.

    Tyler may have received one other call that night, before or after shopping at Walmart. Speculation about the order of events here was getting large, so I have split it into another post. For here, it should suffice to say that my mother either heard the 10:30PM phone call with the known friend, or she heard another call with an unknown person closer to 11:30PM. This second possibility would require that he returned home for some period of time after shopping at Walmart.

    At 6AM the next morning (Sunday, April 18th, 2010), Tyler's alarm clock went off. After several minutes of it ringing, my mother went to his room to turn it off and wake my brother, and found that he was not there.

    At approximately 11PM that night, the police and a detective showed up at our door to tell us that "Tyler's car has been found in a strange place." They were very cautious, wanting to know how many people were in the house, and who they were. They explained where the car had been found (out near Salmon Dam), and asked for pictures of Tyler, and if we had any information where he had gone. At this point, they didn't tell us that the car was burned up with a burned body in the back seat, and led us to believe that Tyler had simply left his car there for some unknown reason. They asked if he had ever been out there before, if he liked to camp or hike or anything.

    I got on Tyler's computer, and examined his facebook page. I found the same note that nmr did, that he had arrived home around 10PM. The only thing running on the computer when I sat down at it was the Lunia online game client, or more specifically, some kind of error message. Tyler played Lunia a lot, and ran a guild called MMOKami, I believe. I don't know if he had been playing before he disappeared that night; my mother says that the game client is running on his computer at all times, even if he isn't playing. I still wonder if maybe he said something to his guildmates before he left that night.

    The police and detective came back the next day along with several other people. I believe at that point they explained the state of the car, and the presence of the body. They also told us not to talk about it with anyone, lest we disrupt the investigation. They took pictures, as well as anything in Tyler's room that could store data: computer, flash drives, external hard drive, etc. They also took pictures of our cars' tire treads. Apparently there were other tire tracks out by where Tyler's car was found, which they took pictures or a cast of. None of our tire tracks matched those found at the scene.

    Around 6:30PM, my two remaining brothers, my wife, and I, all went down to the detective's office to answer some questions about Tyler and the case. They talked with each of us for about a half hour, and told us again not to talk with anyone about the case.

    The police have acquired and examined my brother's cell phone call log, and asked us for all of our phone numbers. According to my mother, when my parents finished listing our numbers, they were surprised, and asked if we were sure there wasn't any others. They then rattled off an unfamiliar phone number, and asked if it was one of ours. Unfortunately, my parents did not write down the number, and that section of time is suspiciously missing from the phone records available to them online. The police claim to have checked the number out, and that it was a dead lead.

    May 3rd, 2010. The coroner called us and confirmed that the body found in the back seat of Tyler's car was Tyler.

    Articles published by the local Times-News, either online or in the printed paper:
    April 20th, 2010:TF Co. seeks info on vehicle, body found near Salmon Dam
    April 21st, 2010:Sheriff seeks info on burned vehicle, body
    April 27th, 2010:Body remains unidentified
    May 4th, 2010:Body from burned car identified
    May 6th, 2010:Burned body identified as 21-year-old man
    May 7th, 2010:Burned body identified as 21-year-old man
    May 8th, 2010:Person still sought in burned body case

    This is all I can think of at the moment, other than a bunch of speculation and file timestamp stuff I'll elaborate on in another post.

  12. #12
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    Speculation about timestamps and phone calls

    Here I'm going to attempt to determine whether or not my mother overheard a second conversation between Tyler and an unknown person, after the time he was recorded at Walmart. This will require describing in some detail the layout of our house, and the events of that evening, probably in more detail than most people are interested in. The goal is to pin down some events that the people involved aren't sure about when they happened, by referencing known times. Understanding it may require some understanding of the Playstation 3.

    Saturday, April 17th, 2010. That evening, I was watching a TV series on DVD with my other two brothers and two friends in our upstairs media room. My wife was in our bedroom, which is adjacent to the media room, playing Final Fantasy XIII on our PS3. Sometime that night, the circuit breaker for our bedroom flipped off, causing that room alone to lose power. We were on the last episode of the series, and by that point, one of those two friends had already left for the evening. I remember which scene was playing when the circuit breaker flipped, which places it at 7 to 9 minutes out of a 25 minute episode.

    There are circuit panels on the main floor, and in the basement. For those 16 to 19 minutes, I was running up and down the stairs, testing different circuit breakers to determine if they restored power. Near the end of this interval, I accidentally woke my parents by making so much noise, and they helped me find the correct circuit breaker, which was in the basement. It was at this time that my mother believes she heard Tyler talking on his cell phone, in his room, which is on the main floor.

    My brothers paused the episode briefly when the power went out in my bedroom, but restarted it after I had tested only a circuit breaker or two, under the logic that I could finish watching the episode later, but that our guest would be thinking about leaving shortly, and so should be allowed to finish without me. This suggests to us that it was approaching or already past midnight, rather than 11PM.

    When I arrived back upstairs after restoring power, the episode was over, or very nearly so. Our guest walked over to talk to my wife as she attempted to boot the PS3, and reload her game. However, it turns out that she had been playing on my profile, and not her own, so she could not find her save data. She then realized her mistake, and copied the save data from my profile to hers. The timestamp of the copy was set to the date and time the file was copied. Because the save data was copied from my profile, it cannot be overwritten by hers. I cannot remember what the timestamp said today before I updated the system clock, but it now says "04/17/2010 0:45". This doesn't match up with the night Tyler disappeared, but the current date on the PS3 was also a day behind. I remembered that I had not updated the system clock since the "Apocalyps3" event earlier this year, on March 1st. My system was one of the affected ones, and thus had lost a day. My PS3 had also forgotten that it was now Daylight Saving Time, or perhaps I had forgotten to set it, until I enabled it today, since I've hardly used the PS3 this year.

    Taking these things into account, suggests that power was restored sometime within a few minutes before 12:45AM, maybe as much as 10 minutes, and that my mother heard Tyler talking to an unknown person shortly before that. This suggests that Tyler talked with the known friend around 10:30PM, then went to Walmart some time after, purchased a gas can, and returned home, in time to have a conversation which my mother overheard sometime after midnight. I believe it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to travel between our home and Walmart, if you're following the speed limit, which I believe Tyler tended to do. I believe this raises a lot of questions that the other, initially believed scenario, does not.
    Last edited by Mjolnir; 05-19-2010 at 04:44 AM. Reason: Corrected my temporal logic with respect to Daylight Saving Time

  13. #13
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    Mjolnir, thanks for all the information. Many of these were things I'd been wondering about as well. I've read your posts each a couple times through, and I just can't seem to make any sense of it. I do not and will never believe that this was a suicide, no matter what the police rule it. The fact that there were other tire marks reinforces that for me 100%, along with him setting his alarm for the next morning. Do you know if Tyler had his alarm set to go off every day and didn't have to reset it, or if he normally set it early? I know I never set mine until right before I go to sleep, so for me, it'd be strange to set it and then leave.

    It also seems strange that the police haven't been able to tell you who unknown phone number belonged to. The fact that they seemed surprised that the number was not one of yours would indicate to me that it was someone Tyler talked to frequently. It's also REALLY odd that it's missing from the phone records.

    Do they know what happened to the gas can he purchased? Was there any reason he would have needed a gas can? Did they tell you if anyone was with him on the Walmart security cameras? Do you have access to his bank information to see if he made any other purchases that night? I could see how the police might assume that he was buying a gas can to use with what happened to his car, but if he never bought gas to fill it up...where does that leave us?

    Also, one thing that sticks out in my mind from when I was questioned is all the strange questions I was asked. They asked me a lot about what house he was living in when I was close friends with him, if it was under construction, how many siblings he had, etc. Just really strange things that I assume your family had already told them.

    There are so many gaps in this case. I hope something is determined soon. Also, I wanted you to know that tons and tons of people do care about this case, though it may not seem like it. I've received countless texts and Facebook messages and such both from people who were also friends with Tyler, some I know and some I don't, asking if I know anything more about the case or what's going on. I also think because it's been kept so quiet, a lot of people are afraid to say anything about it. My thoughts and prayers are with all of his family and friends.

  14. #14
    So much to say, but wanted to write a quick thought. Those are great questions, nmr. You asked most of the questions that came to my mind when I read that he was seen at Walmart buying a gas can. Here are just a few more: Was anything else purchased with the gas can at Walmart? Was the cashier who checked him out interviewed, and if so, can they remember what his demeanor was? Do they have security camera footage of him leaving and returning to his car in the parking lot, and can they see if anyone else is in the car? To me, whatever the significance of the gas can is, this footage of him buying it is of major importance. In fact, I've been dwelling on it all night and all day today. My fiance and I often shop at Walmart late at night, and I think it would be easier to remember someone you saw there at that time because there are way fewer customers. When we're there late at night, I look at the few other shoppers and wonder what each person's reason is to be shopping at such an hour.

  15. #15
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    In reading the local news articles listed by Mjolnir, my question is how did the authorities arrive at the description of the unnamed person of interest?

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