Body Found; Mystery Lingers

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The body of Mark Russell Irby, a 51-year-old Chandler architect missing since January, was found Saturday at Chevelon Canyon Lake, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

Four Phoenix-area residents fishing along the shore found a body Saturday around 2 p.m.

Deputies confirmed the remains were human late Saturday and officials recovered the body Sunday.

A Flagstaff dentist identified the body as Irby. The medical examiner has not yet determined the cause and manner of death.

Irby was last seen Jan. 2 around 10 a.m. by family members before he headed out for a short ride on his red ATV. Irby said he would ride the loop around the Forest Lakes subdivision. The family had planned to return to their main home in Chandler once Irby returned.

“The search had been ongoing,” said Lt. Rex Gilliland. Two of the county’s deputies live in the Forest Lakes subdivision, and Gilliland said they and a Forest Service law enforcement officer continued to look for Irby after the intensive search stopped.

On March 14, hunters found Irby’s ATV about 10 miles from the subdivision. Irby’s body was found about two miles away from the ATV, and 12 miles from home.

The Chevelon Canyon Lake area was not included in the initial search grid, based on Irby’s past riding behavior, his plans to take a short ride and the winter weather, officials said previously.

Irby had left his house wearing a denim shirt, blue jeans and Croc-style plastic shoes.

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