Family of missing BYU-Idaho student heartbroken

Matt Dayton's nephew Jonathan Norton was a passenger abord the BE-36 Beech Bonanza reported missing on Sunday afternoon near the Johnson Creek Airstrip. Norton was traveling with his fiance, her brother and sister-in-law, and her father.

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by Stephanie Zepelin

Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie

KTVB.COM

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 11:58 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 10:30 AM

Johnson Creek Airstrip

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BOISE -- Family members of a young man aboard a plane currently missing in Valley County are detailing his life, along with the lives of those aboard the aircraft.

Matt Dayton's nephew Jonathan Norton was a passenger aboard the BE-36 Beech Bonanza reported missing on Sunday afternoon near the Johnson Creek Airstrip. Norton was traveling with his fiance, her brother and sister-in-law, and her father.

Dayton described Norton as a wonderful person. He said Norton served an LDS mission in California, was top of his class at Brigham Young University-Idaho in the accounting program, and was getting married on January 4, 2014.

His family is now heartbroken with the news his plane has gone missing.

The pilot and four passengers were headed from Baker City, Oregon to Butte, Montana. The pilot, Dale Smith, was planning to drop his son Daniel Smith and his daughter-in-law Sheree Smith off in the Butte area, before flying to Rexburg to drop of Norton and his daughter, Amber Smith.

Dayton said Dale Smith reported engine problems on Sunday near Yellow Pine, then lost radar around 1:30 on Sunday afternoon. A career pilot himself, Dayton said Smith had flying experience.

"He's got, actually, a lot of experience, he's actually a very good pilot," said Dayton. "And all the facts that I've gathered, he did everything really well. It's just an unfortunate event where he had some engine problems."

Dayton, who is from Pocatello, came up to Valley County on Tuesday to help with the search. He said they have about 40 searchers working on the ground and air. He is hoping more people will come help in the search.

"If there's anyone in the area that knows this neck of the woods really good, or experienced climbers, or anyone that could help out, that's what we're asking for," Dayton said.

Officials stopped the search for the night when it got dark. They are hoping weather will allow more searching on foot and in the air in the coming days.

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