Now that the body of Michelle Erickson has been found, her family undoubtedly needs closure more than anything else so they can work through the grief process successfully. Oftentimes, uninformed speculation can delay closure.
However, what initially appeared to be uninformed speculation about the death of Michelle Erickson is increasingly taking on an "informed" character. Even before I published my previous post on Sunday June 22nd, individuals on the Websleuths Forum were speculating on the possibility that Michelle Erickson was murdered. Since that time, forum members are adding to that speculation - and it's becoming quite plausible. Here are the primary reasons why they are expressing doubt that it was a "suicide":
(1). Michelle Erickson stocked her apartment with perishables the day before her disappearance. This does not correspond to a suicidal profile.
(2). Michelle Erickson had made short-term arrangements with her stepson on June 9th to get a haircut at some unspecified future date, before her disappearance. This also does not correspond to a suicidal profile.
(3). Michelle Erickson had purchased charcoal at a gas station in Downey, Idaho on June 10th, as previously reported by the Deseret News, before her demise. This doesn't fit a suicide profile - instead it better fits the profile of someone who intended to murder someone and then use charcoal to help burn the body. And there's one other issue here - we have no verification that Erickson herself purchased the charcoal and used her credit card. At the present time, we only know that someone driving Erickson's car and using Erickson's credit card purchased the charcoal.
(4). Michelle Erickson was reported to have previously suffered from depression. Yet her own family members revealed that there had been no recent recurrences. Did law enforcement play the "depression card" too quickly in a misguided attempt to accelerate closure?
But what specific trigger transforms this "idle speculation" into a workable alternative theory? A story published on June 18th, previously discussed HERE, provides an answer. On that date, KUTV Channel 2 reported that just 48 hours prior to Erickson's disappearance, another resident of the same apartment complex noticed an unfamiliar man lurking in the entrance. It is the same complex from which Erickson vanished. The resident in question stated that the man attempted to grab the door handle of her vehicle, so she locked her doors and goosed her vehicle out of there. Yet the media has ignored this story ever since.
Combined with the other anomalies identifed on Websleuths, this opens up the possibility that the same man who tried to carjack the other resident may have actually carjacked Michelle Erickson, and then the two drove up to Idaho. Erickson could have been killed by this individual at any point along the way. The presence of a "suicide note" implies that Erickson may have been still alive when they reached Walker Creek Canyon, was forced to write the suicide note, then was killed.
But why would the body not be burned? Why would Erickson's car be left behind? Perhaps the hypothetical killer intended to burn the body and take the car, but saw hikers in the vicinity, got scared, and ran off. Or perhaps the hypothetical killer knew that a description of Erickson's car had been circulated and he didn't want to be apprehended driving the vehicle.
So when we combine the Websleuths speculation with the known facts, we can come up with a workable carjack-kidnap-murder theory, as follows:
On June 10th, perhaps around 1:00 A.M., Michelle Erickson went out to her car for some reason. She was intercepted by some creep who waved a gun in her face, forced Michelle into her vehicle, and then the two started driving. They ended up in Downey, Idaho around 5 A.M. where charcoal was purchased. Then they drove to Walker Creek Canyon where the perp forced Michelle to write a suicide note, then murdered her. It's also possible that the perp intended to burn the body and take the car, but was scared off by nearby hikers.
Since there were no reports of Erickson's apartment being trashed, this would rule out somebody breaking in and kidnapping her. The confrontation would have taken place outside.
Update: Doubt about the official story continues to spread further. Now people on the HelpFindTheMissing Forum are questioning the suicide call.
Obviously, the next question for some readers is "Does this matter?" "Will this bring Michelle Erickson back to life?" Well, no, it won't bring Michelle Erickson back to life, but I think it matters if there's a possible killer on the loose. If this guy killed once, he'll do it again.
I don't believe the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office is deliberately trying to cover anything up. I just think it is premature for them to completely rule out foul play. True closure can be best achieved only by investigating all realistic possibilities. And a carjack-kidnap-murder sequence is a realistic possibility.