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Suspect arrested in connection to ritualistic child sex abuse investigation

Sep 28, 2022, 11:53 AM | Updated: Aug 9, 2023, 6:13 pm

Utah County Sheriff car...

A woman hitchhiking from Colorado was arrested Monday and accused of stabbing her driver at a rest stop in Spanish Fork. (KSL TV file photo)

(KSL TV file photo)

SPANISH FORK, Utah — The Utah County Sheriff’s Office announced a suspect has been arrested in connection with a ritualistic child sex abuse investigation.

UCSO Sgt. Spencer Cannon said 68-year-old David Hamblin, of Provo, was arrested Wednesday and booked into the Utah County Jail on six first-degree felony sexual offenses against a child.

Cannon postponed, perhaps indefinitely, a 3 p.m. Wednesday press briefing but did provide a press release. It said Hamblin, was booked on suspicion of:

  • Three counts of sodomy of a child, a first-degree felony
  • Rape of a child, a first-degree felony
  • Two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first degree felony
  • Lewdness involving a child, a class A misdemeanor

At the time the press release was issued, a judge had not yet set bail and the probable cause court document had not yet been approved for release.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office announced its investigation on June 1. Detectives with the UCSO Special Victims Unit say the alleged crimes and sex trafficking took place between 1990 and 2010 in Utah, Juab and Sanpete counties.

Their investigation began in April 2021 and “discovered that other victims had previously reported similar forms of ritualistic sexual abuse and trafficking.”

No suspects had previously been named by authorities. Utah County Attorney David Leavitt, who was vying for re-election at the time, was the one to confirm he’s named in a victim statement contained in hundreds of pages of police investigative reports he said are tied to the investigation.

Leavitt said the reopening of the decades-old case was a political attack.

Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith strongly denied the claim. The two top law enforcers in the county traded barbs in unusual, back-to-back news conferences the following day.

Utah County Attorney calls for outside review of sheriff over ritual child abuse investigation

Leavitt provided copies of a 151-page document labeled as a “victim statement” that describes the alleged crimes in detail. The statement names Leavitt and more than a dozen others as part of a group that practiced ritual sexual abuse of children.

The KSL Investigators also obtained a copy through a public records request to the Provo Police Department.

The launch of an investigation into the conduct of Leavitt and Smith was placed on hold after a snafu in agenda language led to the Utah County Commission striking down the motion.


If you are aware of child sex abuse, call 9-1-1. If you have experienced sexual violence, you can access help and resources by calling Utah’s 24-hour Sexual Violence Helpline at 1-888-421-1100. You can also call the Rape Recovery Center Crisis Line at 801-467-7273 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 for free, confidential counseling.

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Suspect arrested in connection to ritualistic child sex abuse investigation