LOCAL NEWS

Suspect arrested in connection to ritualistic child sex abuse investigation

Sep 28, 2022, 11:53 AM | Updated: 3:15 pm
A Utah County Sheriff patrol car at the Utah County Sheriff's Office. (File)...
A Utah County Sheriff patrol car at the Utah County Sheriff's Office. (File)
(File)

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.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

The 6-month-old troublemaker leading first responders on a chase on I-80. (Salt Lake County Animal ...
Michael Houck

Stray dog runs loose at entrance of Parleys Canyon freeway

A stray puppy gave first responders a slow-speed chase on the highway entrance of Parleys Canyon Sunday.
19 hours ago
Lava flowing from Mauna Loa Volcano during the night. (KSL-TV's Carissa Hutchinson)...
Shelby Lofton

‘It’s kind of an eerie feeling;’ Utah man living in Hawaii witnesses Mauna Loa eruption

A Utah man has a front-row seat to the Mauna Loa Volcano eruption happening on the Big Island of Hawaii.
19 hours ago
(FILE) Utah Tech University in St. George is pictured on Friday June 10, 2022. On July 1, what was...
Michael Houck

Utah Tech student dead after accidently falling from balcony

ST. GEORGE, Utah — A freshman Utah Tech University student is dead after accidentally falling from a fifth-floor balcony early Sunday morning. In a Utah Tech statement, student Peyton Hall fell from the fifth-floor balcony at Campus View Suites II at approximately 2:30 a.m. while with roommates and friends. The witnesses called 911, and first […]
19 hours ago
Three men are facing federal charges for allegedly robbing a postal carrier at gunpoint and taking ...
Brooke Williams

Man arrested after lengthy search, one still wanted

A 22-year-old man was arrested early Sunday after fleeing from a traffic stop.
19 hours ago
A West Valley police car. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)...
Brooke Williams

Two dead after crashing into parked truck

Two died in a crash in West Valley.
19 hours ago
Keith Jensen's Christmas home lit up by all the festive lights. (KSL-TV)...
Michael Locklear

Millcreek man lights up neighborhood with the face of Santa

Millcreek man is spreading Christmas cheer through tens of thousands of lights all around his home.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Suspect arrested in connection to ritualistic child sex abuse investigation