FORT HALL — It’s been 30 days since 34-year-old Matthew Jay Broncho of Fort Hall mysteriously disappeared and his grieving family members are desperate for word from anyone who may have seen or had contact with him.
Matthew’s father, Jim Broncho, believes he may have been depressed because of a series of personal problems and no one in the family has any idea what he had in mind when he left, or even that he planned to leave.
Cynthia Metz, his mother, describes her son as a quiet and thoughtful person. He is a very intelligent young man and is planning on returning to college to work on a Master’s Degree. Matt attended Idaho State University receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in 2008. He majored in Political Science with an emphasis in Environmental and Federal Indian Law/Economics.
“It’s not like him to up and go without telling anybody,” Cynthia said. She said he had his truck serviced and put a new battery in it, “he bought all of that but disappeared.”
Matt was employed at the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes as the Agricultural Resource Manager for seven years, resigning in May 2017. In May 2018, he took a job with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Matthew told his mother that it was temporary until he could find something else or returned to school.
On March 20, he informed his mother that he planned on turning in his resignation from the Commodities Program. She last seen him at home 172 N. Rio Vista Rd, wearing a gray Nike-pull over, blue jeans and black Under Armour running shoes, a black Raiders baseball cap and gold rimmed Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses. He drove off with his faithful companion dog a 3-year old red Dachshund named “Afa.” On the same day he made a bank transaction, withdrawing funds, there were receipts in the vehicle to show he expended the amount withdrawn on that day. The transactions he made that day gave no indication that he had planned on leaving home for an extended length of time.
By March 22, with no word from Matthew, his mother became concerned and was able to locate his cell phone via GPS, where she located the 2011 Toyota Tacoma pickup about 8 p.m., it had been parked on the Interstate 84, exit 7 off-ramp at Snowville, Utah, with the doors closed and locked. Inside the vehicle, were his cell phone and his wallet containing his driver’s license, Tribal ID and bank cards. The truck was taken to the nearest gas station, fueled up and another family member drove it back to Fort Hall. That evening his mother asked the attendants at the two gas stations, two cafes and hotel if they had seen him. No one recognized him from her photos, nor recalled seeing him or his dog. When she inquired about a local law enforcement office, she was informed by a gas station attendant, the nearest police department is in Brigham City, Utah 50 miles away and it takes the sheriff an hour to respond. During her search to locate Matt that evening she did contact the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office, the dispatcher informed she would pass on the information to the deputy on duty as they were out on another report of a missing Brigham City woman.
When Matt did not return home the following day March 23, his mother filed a missing person report with the Fort Hall Police Department. The Fort Hall Police Department informed they would contact Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office in Brigham City, Utah. Family and friends began their own search on March 24 returning to Snowville, Utah.
On March 25, Cynthia went to Brigham City-Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office to complete any necessary reports but was told by dispatch that no paper work was necessary as they had all the information needed. Family later that day met with deputies in Snowville and was told they were checking the surrounding areas, as they were also looking for the Brigham City woman.
On the evening of March 27, Cynthia was contacted by Heather Baldwin an employee at the Ranch House Diner. She was informed that an individual found Matthew’s dog, at Exit 5, two miles west of exit 7 in Snowville. Baldwin also contacted the Box Elder County Sheriff Office to inform where and when the dog was found. Metz said the people that found the dog had a hard time catching her. Cynthia then contacted the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office and was notified that Box Elder County Search and Rescue would be out looking for Matt. The following day March 28, family and friends also assisted in the search.
For two days an extensive search was initiated by Box Elder Search and Rescue, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Fish and Game Department, 50 family members and friends from Fort Hall, searching an eight-mile radius from the I-84 exit ramps where the pickup truck and his dog were found. Utah Search and Rescue and their dogs were utilized, also searchers on horseback and the Utah sheriff’s office launched a drone to assist in the search.
On March 29, Matt’s truck was retrieved at his residence by Fort Hall Police detectives and stored at their facility until Box Elder County Detectives in Brigham City, Utah were able to process the vehicle for the investigation. Cell phone data, fingerprints and DNA results are pending.
A former employee of Shoshone-Bannock High School reported seeing Matthew at Lava Hot Springs the evening of March 20. Also, on March 21, a woman gave a vague description of Matt indicating she saw him walking his dog near the exit 7 ramp at 4 p.m., where the truck was located.
Box Elder County Sheriff Kevin Potter and his detectives have been following up on numerous reported sightings of Matthew, including going to Salt Lake City and showing his photograph around the areas where homeless people are known to congregate. Family members have also traveled to Salt Lake and Boise areas, following reported sightings, the outcome of those sightings have resulted in mistaken identity.
Box Elder County Sheriff detective Scot Lewis said he may have been seen in the Salt Lake City area as security guards indicated they might have seen Matt. However Metz said they drove to the area to look near a park and where transients are fed but it may have been mistaken identity.
Metz added family members have been going to the Snowville area on their own time to search for Matt. “We’ve covered a lot of the area but they haven’t planned any more trips for everyone to go at once.” She also said Wayne Crue has taken a drone to search over the area.
If anyone has any information on Matthew Broncho’s whereabouts please contact his family at 208-760-0436 or contact Sheriff Kevin Potter or Detective Scot Lewis, Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office at 435-734-3881 or the Fort Hall Police Department at 208-478-4000.