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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Man thought missing is traced to Australia

By The Associated Press

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- Family and co-workers of a St. George man believed to have disappeared while hiking were relieved that he was alive but distressed that he had gone off secretly to Australia.

Bryan Butas, 35, had said he was going hiking alone in an area near Leeds. He was reported missing when he did not show up for work on Aug. 1 and his car was found near the Oak Grove campground in Dixie National Forest.

Sheriff Kirk Smith said Tuesday that investigators found that the ex-Marine had purchased a plane ticket on July 20 and flew from Los Angeles to New Zealand and then to Sydney on Aug. 2. He was then traced to Cairns, Queensland.

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