FAILURE TO PROTECT

Sexual assault survivor says delays in police investigation allowed perpetrator to attack a teenager

Nov 30, 2023, 10:07 PM | Updated: Jan 27, 2024, 4:00 pm

NORTH LOGAN – Inside a small interview room at a police station in Cache County in 2017, Cami Johnson told police what she could about the night she says her ex-husband drugged and sexually assaulted her.

“I sipped on it,” she said, of the small cup she was told contained an energy drink. “And I’m like, yeah that tastes really good, what is it?”

That’s where she says the memory ends.

“I remember nothing else,” she told the detective.

Johnson told the KSL Investigators she did her part – she reported to police. But she said it took officers too long to do their part.

Cami Johnson reported to police in 2017 that she was drugged and sexually assaulted by her ex-husband. (Source: North Park PD)

Nearly two years passed between Johnson’s interview with the police, and detectives’ interview with the suspect, Byron Thad Haderlie. During that time, a 16-year-old girl reported to police in a different county that Haderlie drugged and attempted to sexually assault her too.

“She could have been saved if somebody would have listened,” Johnson told the KSL Investigators. “If somebody would have charged him with mine.”

‘She could have been saved’

Johnson made her report at the North Park Police Department in North Logan. The current chief did not agree to an interview, but in a written statement noted the department has had a 100% turnover since, and no one there today worked on the case.

The police casefile shows Cami reported she was drugged and had a rape kit done at the hospital. Medical records show she had benzodiazepines and Ambien in her system. Later, she found images had been taken of her unclothed and sent to multiple contacts in her phone.

Cami Johnson speaks with the KSL Investigators in September 2023. (Josh Szymanik/KSL-TV)

The records also show police asked Cami to collect witness statements and evidence. And they inactivated their investigation twice without ever contacting Haderlie to get his side.

“A child was hurt that did not need to be in this situation ever,” said Johnson.

Another attempt

In November 2018, more than a year after Johnson’s report, a partially clothed 16-year-old girl in Utah County escaped Haderlie and ran to a neighbor’s home for help. According to court records, she had benzodiazepines in her system too.

Haderlie was charged with felony counts of attempted forcible sexual abuse and aggravated kidnapping. He pleaded “no contest” to attempted forcible sexual abuse and a misdemeanor count of unlawful detention in June 2019 and is serving a prison sentence.

Bryon ‘Thad’ Haderlie appears in court in Cache County for a sentencing in October 2023. (Josh Szymanik/KSL-TV)

The victim in the case told Utah’s Board of Pardons and Parole in January 2020 she is “terrified and traumatized,” and said she still has nightmares. She also noted Haderlie has pleaded guilty to violating protective orders on multiple occasions.

“I’m very fearful for my life and for my family’s lives,” she told the board. “He is very unpredictable, and he has nothing to lose.”

During that same hearing, Haderlie said he doesn’t “agree” with the facts of the case as summarized in the official record.

The board ordered a sex offender treatment memo for Haderlie. His next hearing is scheduled for January.

‘Not until somebody else gets hurt’

Once North Park Police learned about the case involving the teenager in Utah County, they reactivated their investigation into Johnson’s assault.

“I informed [Johnson] that I would screen everything I have with the county attorney’s office to see the direction they would like this investigation to go and try and obtain what I can prior to going down and interviewing Byron,” the detective wrote in March 2019.

Police then met with Haderlie at the Utah County Jail, where he made several statements that did not line up with evidence in the case and other witness accounts. Haderlie even denied being alone with Johnson the night of the assault.

“When it comes back to a match to your DNA, here’s the problem that you’ve just locked yourself into,” the detective told Haderlie, “You can’t even now say it was consensual, because you’re saying, ‘I didn’t do anything.’”

Detectives interviewed Haderlie about Johnson’s report in April 2019. (Source: North Park PD)

Cache County prosecutors filed several felony charges against Haderlie in the case involving Johnson in February 2021. In August this year, he pleaded guilty to felony counts of surreptitious administering of a substance, distribution of an intimate image, and attempted forcible sexual abuse.

Haderlie told the judge during his sentencing in October that he has changed since being incarcerated, he apologized to Johnson, and he told the judge he would like an opportunity to move forward.

“I sit here today and take full accountability and responsibility for my actions and my decisions,” Haderlie said.

But when reached by phone, Ryan Holdaway, the defense attorney who represented Haderlie in the case, said Haderlie “maintains his innocence,” despite pleading guilty.

Johnson told the KSL Investigators – outside of the help and kindness she received from victim advocates – the entire process left her feeling failed by Utah’s justice system, a sentiment that only intensified when she read through the police records from her case.

“I cried,” she said. “Because there’s so many inaccuracies for number one, and not to see one time in that whole document that I had come and pled.”

While police documented instances of not being able to reach Johnson by phone, she noted they did not document several visits she says she made to the police station in person to inquire about the status of the investigation, including one visit that is documented by an audio recording she shared with the KSL Investigators.

“You think you call, and you get help,” she said. “No, no, not until somebody else gets hurt, or you get hurt, or you’re dead, does somebody listen.”

The North Park Police Department in North Logan, Utah. (Josh Szymanik/KSL-TV)

In a written statement provided to the KSL Investigators, North Park Police Chief Kent Goodrich said, “we can speak with confidence that the Department is currently comprised of detectives and officers who combined, have 25 years of experience related to investigating sex offenses. We have placed a great emphasis on continued training intended to improve the skill, efficiency, and solicitude of our detectives and officers who investigate sex crimes.”

‘Not enough evidence’

A third report naming Haderlie has not led to any charges.

“They told me that unfortunately, there’s no evidence,” the woman involved told the KSL Investigators. “So, they’re going to drop the case.”

The accuser, who now lives out of state and did not wish to be identified, contacted police in 2021 and reported she believes Haderlie drugged and raped her 10 years earlier, in 2011.

“I was very frustrated with the justice system because of the way they treated the case,” she said.

A third woman who did not wish to be identified spoke with the KSL Investigators about her report of sexual assault against Haderlie. (Ken Fall/KSL-TV)

An Orem police report details challenges in getting in touch with a potential witness. A final entry states the detective spoke with a prosecutor about the investigation in July of this year before deciding to close the case.

“Sometimes there’ll be a mutual conclusion that there’s just not enough evidence there to move forward with the case,” said Utah County Attorney Jeff Gray.

Gray said that is why the case was not formally screened by his office.

“This case is kind of a cold case, an SVU cold case, where we’ve kind of run into dead ends,” he said.

Gray said sexual assault cases are already among the most difficult to prove, and this one is complicated by the accusers’ memory loss and the fact that police couldn’t get in contact with the potential witness.

“It is frustrating for us,” Gray said, discussing cases that prosecutors cannot move forward with due to evidentiary issues.

And frustrating for the woman who came forward.

“Everything in this society is based on the justice system,” she said. “And if the justice system fails, then what’s left?”

The women who’ve reported Haderlie hope their stories highlight the importance of holding violent perpetrators accountable.

“All we care about is he never does it to anyone else,” said Johnson. “Stop him.”

This report is part of a series examining how apparent gaps at every level of Utah’s criminal justice system fail to protect Utahns.


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 National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 for free, confidential counseling.

Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.

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Sexual assault survivor says delays in police investigation allowed perpetrator to attack a teenager