Missing couple found dead after their truck located in flooded creek near Payson

The bodies of Dara Sutton and Phon Dewey Sutton were found 100 yards downstream from where their pickup truck was spotted in Payson.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 4:13 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 23, 2023 at 4:27 PM MST
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PAYSON, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- The bodies of a couple whose truck got submerged in a Gila County creek were found on Thursday, and family members have identified them. Investigators say 72-year-old Dara Sutton and 85-year-old Phon Sutton went missing Tuesday afternoon in the Bear Flat community, which is close to Payson and about two hours from Phoenix.

Family members say the couple crossed the creek on a daily basis to get to and from their home. But the creek turned into a raging river because of this week’s storms and the snow melt. Deputies said the Suttons were trying to get home with their dog from a veterinarian appointment when the current took their pickup truck. Family members reported the couple missing Tuesday night and started searching for them Wednesday morning. That’s when they found the pickup truck and told the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.

First responders from a variety of agencies helped out. GCSO deputies said a Department of Public Safety helicopter spotted the two bodies about 100 yards from the pickup truck, further downstream. However, the couple’s dog still hasn’t been located.

Family members say they are just heartbroken. They knew this outcome was a possibility, given the truck’s condition and age, since they were in their mid-80s. Still, it wasn’t the ending family members had hoped and prayed for. Funeral arrangements are underway. The family told Arizona’s Family they’re grateful to the community for their support.

Crews are searching for a missing couple after their pickup truck was found in a flooded creek near Payson.

Rescue crews have been busy north of the Valley all week. Teams saved two men who were stuck on top of their white pickup truck near Spur Cross Road in Cave Creek on Wednesday. Firefighters used a ladder to get them to safety. The Ash Fork Fire Department was involved in a rescue on Wednesday morning as well. An SUV was stuck on AA Ranch Road near the railroad tracks. Two people got out on their own while crews used a backhoe to get the third person out. Meanwhile, in Camp Verde, Copper Canyon firefighters rescued one person and a pig stuck in flowing water near Highway 260.