Update: Man arrested, now named a suspect in killing of Utah teen Baleigh Bagshaw
(KUTV) — Shaun French, sought by police in connection with the death of a Utah teen, has been taken into custody by law enforcement officials in Colorado.
At a press conference Wednesday, Brandon Shearer with the Salt Lake City Police Department said he French, 24, is the suspect in the killing of Baleigh Bagshaw. Previously he was only said to be a person of interest in the case but was wanted for unlawful sexual activities with the girl he is now accused of killing.
Shearer said from Tuesday to Wednesday more information and tips led police to change his status to a suspect in the investigation of the homicide. Formal charges have not yet been filed for the homicide and French remains in police custody in Colorado on charges for three felony counts of unlawful sexual contact with a minor.
A warrant was issued Tuesday for French, not for the killing of 15-year-old Bagshaw, but for illegal sexual relations with the underage girl. French was also listed as a person of interest in her brutal killing Monday. Police said he lived in the home with the girl at some point but was not living there at the time of the homicide. Shearer was not sure how long he lived in the home or how long he was abusing the girl.
Court documents released later Wednesday claimed French moved into the Rose Park home with Bagshaw's older brother in February, 2017, when she was 14 and he was 23. Her brother said he witnessed the pair engaged in sexual activity.
Shearer also gave further insight into the discovery of the girl's death. He said Bagshaw was on the phone with her mother who heard screaming and immediately called a neighbor. The neighbor checked on the house and called police who took the call at approximately 3:08 p.m. Monday. They arrived to discover that she had been killed.
Because French had a warrant for unlawful sexual contact with a minor when he was found, police can bring him to Utah more quickly, but Shearer said it still is a matter of a legal process in the court system. He said detectives would head to Colorado to interview their newly named suspect.
It is not yet known how French was found, only that he was taken into custody Wednesday.
Before he was found, police said it was believed he could be headed to Wyoming, Colorado or Ohio by way of Interstate 80.
Salt Lake police issued the warrant Tuesday and held a press conference and were looking for French's camouflage-painted vehicle.
Bagshaw was found dead in a home at 1650 West 500 North in Rose Park, Utah.
"It was a very violent and brutal attack that occurred in the home," Shearer said Tuesday at a press conference.
He said the job of the forensic investigative team was long and difficult because of the violence involved in the girl's death. He specified that investigators were examining blood splatters in the home.
Wednesday, Shearer thanked the public and the media for aiding in the investigation and the capture of French.
If he is extradited to Utah, French's bail is expected to be set for the amount of $500,007.