Utah homicide suspect arrested in Colorado

May 9, 2018, 9:26 PM | Updated: May 10, 2018, 1:08 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The lone suspect in a brutal homicide of a 15-year-old girl in Utah has been arrested hundreds of miles away in Colorado on charges of unlawful sex acts with a minor, according to the Salt Lake Police Department.

Police arrested Shaun French, 24, in Otero County, Colorado. (Courtesy: Otero County Sheriff’s Office)

Law enforcement officers apprehended Shaun French, 24, along U.S. Highway 50 and County Road 13 in Otero County, Colorado, around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. A spokesperson for Salt Lake police said the arrest happened safely and was due to good detective work and tips from the public.

“Anytime you have a horrendous crime like this it’s very sad, not just for the people involved, but especially for the family and what they’re going through,” Sgt. Brandon Shearer said. “We really appreciate the public and the media’s help in helping get the word out.”

When announcing the arrest, police said that French is now considered a suspect in the homicide of Baleigh Bagshaw, who police say was killed shortly after returning home from school Monday afternoon. Previously, French was only called a person of interest in the crime.

Police say Baleigh Bagshaw, 15, was brutally attacked and killed inside her Salt Lake City home.

The young teen was on the phone with her mother when the attack started at the family’s home located at 1624 W. 500 North. The mother quickly called neighbors and police to go check on her daughter.

Wednesday afternoon, detectives from Salt Lake City headed to Colorado to interview French about the homicide. They hope to extradite him to Utah as soon as possible, Sgt. Shearer said.

While he hasn’t been charged with any crime related to Bagshaw’s death, French is being held on a separate warrant for three counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. Police allege in court documents that French and Bagshaw, who was 14 at the time, had an illegal sexual relationship in 2017.

Related: Murder suspect’s father says his son had a troubled life

“He’d had a previous sexual relationship with Baleigh,” Sgt. Shearer said. “He’d also lived in the home with Baleigh for a time; he was not living in the home at the time the homicide occurred.”

Salt Lake police detectives want French back in Utah as soon as possible, and say French’s charges related to the alleged unlawful sexual activity with a minor could streamline the extradition process.

“He’s now a suspect in the homicide, but we would have to obtain a warrant for that in order to extradite him for the homicide,” Sgt. Shearer said. “But because he already has that warrant for unlawful sexual activity it actually increases the speed of which we can get him back to Utah.”

Related: ‘We loved her,’ neighbors, LDS bishop remember 15-year-old homicide victim

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Utah homicide suspect arrested in Colorado