Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Details of Disappearance
SPC Joseph Bushling, a 26-year-old soldier stationed at Dugway Proving Ground, was last seen at the military installation May 7 and was not heard from after a call placed from outside the installation the following evening. Bushling was driving a black 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer. Bushling made contact May 7th at 7:00 stating he had run out of gas and was walking to the test area. Bushling told his friend that he had somehow lost his shoes, but was walking toward a gate on base. He sounded frantic and said he needed a ride. It was rainging at the time and Joe was cold and stated he needed help. He hasn’t been heard from since.
The search for Joseph Bushling was started in earnest on May 9 by Army personnel and Tooele County Search and Rescue members doing ground-level searches on both sides of Dugway’s fence. Drones and a helicopter from the Utah National Guard were used for an eagle-eye view of the area in which the missing soldier told his friend, via that phone call, he had become stranded.
On May 17, the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Joseph Bushling was driving was found, and subsequent searches discovered a baseball cap identified by friends as the missing man’s a few miles north of the car.
The car and cap were found around Granite Peak, about 35 miles away from Dugway’s main gate but so close to the southern border of the installation that the fence is visible. The area was scoured by the Tooele County Search and Rescue, but no further clues or signs of Joseph Bushling were found.
Theories like foul play or suicide were ruled out by county investigators almost immediately. Bushling, an army medic, was scheduled to head to nursing school in Texas the same week he went missing, a move he was looking forward to.
Joseph Bushling’s status was changed to “deserter” on June 18, as per Army regulations when a soldier is missing more than 30 days. In August 2014, 3rd District Judge Robert Adkins issued a death certificate for Bushling, ruling he died on either May 8th or 9th in 2011. The family held a memorial service for their son in his hometown of Russellville, Arkansas. Because Bushling’s standing with the military had changed from deserter to deceased, a six-man Honor Guard was present to pay their respects.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Tooele County Sheriff’s Office