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A Utah teen is missing from his farm, according to family members, and police found his boots and truck left behind – and his mother now says she “absolutely” believes foul play is involved with his disappearance.
Dylan Rounds, a 19-year-old Idaho native who struck off on his own as a farmer in Utah, last spoke to family just over two weeks ago, according to authorities.
“My son would not walk away from that farm on his own,” his mother, Candice Cooley, told Fox News Digital Wednesday. “He was removed from it.”
She said she was not aware of her son having any enemies, although she believed he had recently fired a farmworker who she does not think harbored any ill will. The area is very rural, she said, and neighbors mostly live off the grid and keep to themselves.
“I cannot fathom who would want to do something to our son,” she said. “It just blows my mind.”
The Utah farm’s ground is rough and covered with thorny brush, Cooley said. She does not believe that her son would have walked on it without his boots, or even in flipflops. It had also rained significantly that weekend.
She described Rounds as fiercely independent and said he avoids drugs, video games and social media.
“Dylan had a farm, Dylan had a goal, and he had a drive in life so that he would absolutely not let anything, anything, take him away,” she said. “This is a kid that the last three years has been out in the desolate desert tearing out new ground.”
Investigators say he called his grandma just before 7 a.m. on May 28, and cell tower data placed his phone on his farm at the time. They found his truck on the property – and his boots 100 yards away, Cooley said.
Rounds is a White male standing 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing around 160 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.
Deputies across state lines in Elko County, Nevada, said they became involved in the case after a report of a hostage situation in Montello on May 31.
The incident turned out to be a false report, Cooley said, but Elko investigators determined that the missing teen did visit the area on May 26, when he was seen at a restaurant. But phone records show he called family members from Utah after that.
Cooley said the last known communication came on May 28 with Rounds’ grandmother. When friends and relatives realized two days later that no one else had been in touch with him, she said she called police to file the missing person report.
“Instant panic set in, and we headed straight down,” she said. “I called on the way down to his farm. I live in the Twin Falls area [of Idaho], so I’m only about 2 hours from where his farm is.”
Shortly after the search began, she said, investigators found her son’s boots in the opposite direction of his camper, which she said should have raised more cause for concern.
“Everything should have stopped and it should have been treated 100% differently,” she said.
Anyone with information on Rounds’ whereabouts is asked to call the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office at 435-734-3800.
Search efforts are expected to continue with additional help from outside groups including EquuSearch as well as numerous law enforcement agencies.