Two weeks after discovering his 2014 Honda Civic abandoned on the side of a dirt road in sparsely populated Grand County, Utah, authorities found a body believed to be that of Michael Cavallari, the troubled missing brother of Laguna Beach and The Hills personality Kristin Cavallari and brother-in-law of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
Cavallari went missing late last month after his Nov. 23 arrest in Orange County, California, for allegedly threatening an unnamed woman with a shotgun. He’d had brushes with the law in recent years, including an arrest for petty theft, several driving violations involving reckless behavior behind the wheel, and a 2014 DUI. News of Cavallari’s death came two weeks after local authorities first launched their search for the 30-year-old, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances following his Thanksgiving week arrest.
According to reports, Michael Cavallari and the woman had argued two days prior. She told police she feared for her safety when Cavallari repeatedly visited her apartment. Officers reportedly smelled alcohol on his breath upon his arrest. He denied any wrongdoing, but informed police he had a loaded shotgun in his trunk.
Cavallari was released from jail on Nov. 25. Two days later, his car was discovered on the side of an embankment roughly 200 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah, with its engine still running and its air bag deployed.
In the past two years, Cavallari had been found guilty of driving at unsafe speeds, unsafe passing, and driving while using a cellphone, according to People. In November 2014, he was convicted of a DUI after driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit and sentenced to fines, three years of probation, a one-day jail sentence, and mandatory alcohol and victim impact counseling.
He “was always a troubled kid and there was always drama with him,” a source told the magazine. “He gave his parents a hard time. He’s completely opposite to Kristin, who is levelheaded and business orientated.”
As kids Cavallari and his reality star-turned-fashion designer sister had been separated by their parents’ divorce, which kept her in Colorado with their mother as Michael moved to Laguna Beach, California, with their father. After her mother’s remarriage moved them again to Chicago, Kristin Cavallari revealed in 2005, she began acting out until she was sent to live with her brother and father at the start of high school. A few years later her life changed when she landed a starring role on MTV’s Laguna Beach reality series, in which Michael briefly appeared during the show’s first season.
It’s unclear why or how the troubled Cavallari found his way to Utah days after his arrest. His cellphone and laptop were located inside the car, but he was nowhere to be found. Local authorities traced the vehicle back to Cavallari and positively identified him on security camera footage captured at a convenience store 150 miles south in Monticello, Utah, where his credit card had been used.
Per the Grand County Sheriff’s Department, the body believed to be Cavallari’s was found Wednesday morning by searchers combing the Salt Wash area off I-70 and was transported to the Utah Medical Examiner’s office for positive identification and a determination of cause of death.
Kristin Cavallari, who had been sharing hopeful updates related to the search for her missing brother on her social media channels, confirmed his death Wednesday afternoon.
“My heart is in a million pieces,” she wrote. “Mikey, I could always count on you to make me laugh. You had such a good heart and will be forever missed. I’m at a loss for words but I know u are in a better place and finally at peace. I love u so much RIP.”