Body from burned car identified as U student

By Michael McFall, Asst. News Editor

DNA testing confirmed that the body Washington County Sheriff’s deputies found in a torched car near Zion National Park on April 2 is freshman bioengineering major Zach Ruble, the state medical examiner announced Friday afternoon.

The tests were expected to take several weeks, but the medical examiner was able to identify Ruble’s body in a matter of days.

“We were surprised to get it this fast,” said Det. Nate Abbott with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. It probably jumped up the lab’s pecking order since it’s a prominent case, he said. The examiner only turned to DNA testing after a dental record comparison proved inconclusive earlier in the week.

Ruble’s death follows two similar incidents. On March 9, police found Lorin Fischer, 28, in a burned car in a Big Cottonwood Canyon campground. On March 20, they found Gregory Nelson, 35, in a burned car near Saltair.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has been investigating the three cases with Salt Lake County Sheriff as possibly linked, Abbott said. However, they haven’t found any evidence to suggest that they are related, he said.

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