Police: Man admits to violent attacks in Spanish Fork, Ogden
Jul 11, 2022, 11:24 PM
SPANISH FORK, Utah — Police on Monday connected the same suspect to two extreme acts of violence in two different counties which left one man dead and the other unresponsive and in the hospital.
Christian Francis Taele, 28, was booked into the Weber County Jail this weekend on suspicion of murder and was facing potential charges in Utah County connected to the discovery of a body last week.
Spanish Fork Police Lt. Cory Slaymaker said it all began Friday morning in his jurisdiction when officers responded to a commercial development near 1000 North and 400 East upon the discovery of a body near a dumpster.
While the official cause of death remained under investigation Monday afternoon, Slaymaker said the victim — identified as 49-year-old Ryan Hooley of Spanish Fork — had suffered blunt force trauma injuries as well as apparent stab wounds.
Spanish Fork police investigating after body found near dumpster
Slaymaker said detectives interviewed several people Friday without establishing a suspect, but that changed with a phone call from the Ogden Police Department Saturday evening.
According to a jail probable cause statement, officers responded to an apartment complex at 2433 Adams Avenue on the report of an assault, and that a suspect had beat and then hanged the victim.
The documents stated that an eyewitness told police the suspect, subsequently identified as Taele, began “strangling the victim with a rope or strap before kicking the victim numerous times.”
“The victim was dragged into the apartment building and into the gym,” the documents stated. “Shortly after detaining Christian, police found the victim in the gym, partially hanging by the neck from a piece of gym equipment.”
The probable cause statement said that during an interview with police, “Christian admitted to using a long rope or strap to strangle the victim and provided a detailed explanation about his intention to take the victim’s life.”
“The attack was unprovoked and there is no indication that either the suspect or victim” — who remains unconscious in the hospital with no brain activity as of Monday evening — “have ever spoken prior to the attack,” police wrote.
Investigators also wrote that Taele confessed to another homicide in Spanish Fork.
“In this case, it appears that Christian Taele has been forthcoming,” Slaymaker said in an interview with KSL TV on Monday. “He knew a lot of the details in our case, which has helped our detectives piece things together as to what took place.”
Slaymaker also characterized the killing in Spanish Fork as a “random act of violence.”
“I think there are some mental health issues that are going on as well,” he said.
Court records showed Taele had very little in terms of a criminal history prior to this summer.
On May 16, records show Taele’s ex filed for divorce.
Two days later, documents state that Taele was arrested in connection with an incident in which transit police wrote that he did not pay for a fare on UTA FrontRunner and then grew combative during a struggle with officers who were trying to take him into custody.
Taele was later charged with a third-degree felony disarming a police officer with an energy device, third-degree felony propelling a substance at an officer, and class B misdemeanor interference with an arresting officer.
Still, nothing in the documents seemed to suggest any of the events of the last few days were possible.
Slaymaker said detectives were still working to put their cases together, including a full timeline of events between the two attacks that took place roughly 88 miles apart.
“We obviously feel horrible about what happened and for the family involved,” Slaymaker said. “It’s horrible and it’s tough on everybody.”