Sophia Hernandez Missing: Two Utah Teens Found Dead One Week After Disappearance

Last Updated on December 21, 2023, 9:53 am

Authorities found the bodies of Sophia Hernandez, 17, and Priscilla Bienkowski, 18, who drowned in Utah Lake while Tubing due to unexpected bad weather.

Sophia Hernandez and Priscilla Bienkowski missing
Sophia Hernandez and Priscilla Bienkowski (Image via Facebook)

Sophia Hernandez, 17, and Priscilla Bienkowski, 18, disappeared on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, while tubing on Utah Lake. The authorities found their bodies over a week later in the Lake.

What happened to Sophia Hernandez and Priscilla Bienkowski?

Sophia Hernandez and Priscilla Bienkowski were reported missing to the Saratoga Spring Police by the family after the teens didn’t return home, prompting a 1000 hours extensive by Utah Sheriff’s Office’s Search and Rescue Team. The teens were tubing near Knoll’s area of Utah Lake when they were caught by unexpected bad weather.
According to Sergeant Cannon, the waves in the Lake can rise to eight feet high, but because the Lake is shallow, the waves are close together, making it impossible to navigate on a tube or kayak. The crew found their car keys, cell phones, and other personal belongings onshore and later their tubes in the water, indicating the girls went in the Lake. The investigators did not know whether the girls wore life jackets.

The authorities found their bodies on May 14, 2023, over a week after their disappearance. The first body was found just before 2 p.m. local time by a fisherman off one of the jetties at Lincoln Beach, while the second body was spotted at 4:40 p.m. by a pilot in the Goshen Bay, according to Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith.

Smith said the bodies were found about 8.5 miles from where the girls got onto the water. The authorities spent over 1000 hours searching for them with the help of boats, wave runners, helicopters, and airplanes.

About Sophia Hernandez and Priscilla Bienkowski

A GoFundMe page that was established to help the family of Priscilla Bienkowski with the unexpected funeral and burial expenses described Priscilla as ‘quick to smile’ and had the ‘voice of an angel.’

“While recreating with a friend on Utah Lake, a storm blew in quickly, and the two girls were unable to reach safety. They were called home while doing what they loved, spending time with friends, and enjoying the world around them.”

Before her disappearance, Bienkowski had graduated from West High School and was taking general courses at Utah Valley University. Her hobbies included singing, digital content creation, and podcasts.

Hernandez was a West High School junior and planned to study psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, because she wanted to help others. She also lent her time to Brookhaven Elementary School, where she tutored kindergarten students in need.


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