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A Utah woman's family was unable to report her as a missing person. Days later, she was found dead.

Posted at 6:34 AM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 11:04:35-04

  • Police in Weber County, Utah confirm they are investigating a suspicious death.
  • The family of Chynna Toilolo say she was found dead this week and police are investigating.
  • The family says they struggled to report her as a missing person despite not hearing from her for days.

A Utah mother says she tried to report her daughter missing days before her daughter was found dead nearly an hour away.

The Weber County Sheriff's Office is calling the death "suspicious," but has not released further information or confirmed the woman's identity.

Terrie Toilolo said the woman is her daughter, 30-year old Lopine "Chynna" Toilolo.

On Wednesday, a law enforcement team scoured the area around where the body was found in Ogden Canyon, near the Ogden River. At one point, a dive team even searched through the waters.

Terrie Toilolo says she last heard from her daughter on Sunday when she got a text message from her daughter saying that she was headed home.

But Chynna Toilolo never showed up to her parent's home, where she lives.

Terrie Toilolo texted her daughter several times Sunday, and when she called, she said her phone was off. Terrie Toilolo and her son, Sefuluai Toilolo Jr, said Chynna is always connected to her phone.

"Son says, 'Mom, you need to go find out. This is not like Chynna,'" Terrie Toilolo said.

The family called police in West Jordan, Utah, on Monday to report Chynna Toilolo missing, but said police told her there wasn't a lot they could do because Chynna is an adult and can leave on her own free will.

Terrie Toilolo explained they told her to call jails, hospitals and other places in the area where Chynna could have been — which they did, with no luck.

The family then took matters into their own hands, and began to investigate.

Terrie Toilolo explained that phone records show her daughter had been in contact with her ex-boyfriend, who lives in nearby Pleasant View, Utah.

When they reached him, they said he changed his story on what happened.

Sefuluai Toilolo said the ex-boyfriend first said he never talked to Chynna Toilolo, then admitted that he picked her up and drove her to his place.

"He said she took an Uber," Terrie Toilolo said. "She left early in the morning, stormed out of the house."

They said Chynna Toilolo's bank records proved that she never got into an Uber, because there is no bank transaction.

The family says the ex-boyfriend has been abusive with Chynna Toilolo in the past, and he was recently arrested for assaulting her.

The family said they reported this to Pleasant View Police, but that police told them they still couldn't investigate or consider Chynna Toilolo as a missing person.

"They still said, 'Well nothing you're telling me leads me to believe that she's in danger, so we can't open, we're not going to open up a missing person's report,'" Sefuluai Toilolo said.

The family printed flyers and began to canvass the ex-boyfriend's neighborhood. That's when neighbors spoke up.

"Neighbors heard her screaming, say that she just wants her phone back and she just wants to go home," Sefuluai Toilolo said.

Thanks to the missing person's flyer, a woman who lives near the ex-boyfriend reached out to Terrie Toilolo to report she had seen a woman who looked similar to Chynna Toilolo just before 5 a.m. on Sunday.

"I did hear the doorbell, I did hear that knock — something is going on," the woman said. "And then I hear a scream. Not a painful scream, more like she was yelling. It was a female voice like she was yelling at somebody."

The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she was afraid to open her door because she didn't know the woman, so she felt it was best to document what was going on.

"It was very scary," she said. "That's why I called the police and I took pictures."

The woman took several photos from her home — one of which shows a police truck driving through the neighborhood, responding to the woman's call.

The woman said the officer drove around the block twice, and left. A few minutes later, pictures show the garage opening and a woman standing next to a car.

The Toilolo family believes the photos show Chynna getting into her ex-boyfriend's car. They think this might be the last time anyone saw her.

The woman's photos indicate that the car left and drove away.

Days later, a body was found in Ogden Canyon.

"We are following up on several leads," Weber County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Cortney Ryan said. "And investigating the case as a suspicious death at this point."

The neighbor said she saw police search the ex-boyfriend's home extensively on Wednesday. She also said she saw CSI vehicle was at the house.

Weber County Sheriff's Office detectives also showed up to the townhouse later Wednesday evening.

The Toilolo family just wants to know what happened to her. As they shared frustrations over trying to report her missing, they wonder if anything could have been done to help find her sooner.

"If they would have listened to me, to us, begging, I feel like we could have found her. He would have confessed. I don't know," Terrie Toilolo said. "I just feel like it would have been a different outcome."

The Weber County Sheriff's Office will not release any info regarding the suspicious death, except that they are asking if anyone saw anything suspicious in Ogden Canyon between Sunday morning and Tuesday evening.

It appears no arrests have been made or charges filed in the death.

West Jordan Police confirmed they took the missing person's call and called another agency to try to look for the person at their last known location.

Pleasant View Police have not yet responded to questions about their investigation.

This story was originally published by Lauren Steinbrecher on KSTU in Salt Lake City.