Police search transient camps after suspect confronts St. George mother in her home

Image: (KUTV)

Investigators are searching for a man who broke into a St. George family’s home Monday afternoon and came face-to-face with the homeowner.

The victim, Elizabeth Peterson, told 2News that she put her daughter down for a nap in their home on North Donlee Drive around 1:30 p.m. and was then going to take a nap when something startled her.

“I was trying to go to sleep and I heard banging noises. I thought maybe my husband had come home from work,” Peterson said. “The banging got really loud, really aggressive.”

Moments later, Peterson says an unknown man burst through her bedroom door.

“I sat up in bed and saw this man standing there we looked at each other and you could see the fear, like, ‘Oh I just got caught,’ and he bolted out the door and I ran after him,” she said.

The man took off through a garage door as Peterson quickly called her husband and then 911.

“The adrenaline kicked in that I needed to protect my daughter,” Peterson said.

She grabbed a handgun and went into the garage, fearing there may be other people who had entered their home with the man.

Within minutes, St. George Police arrived at the scene and began searching the surrounding neighborhood.

Investigators used an off-road vehicle to search The Devil’s Saddle, a wilderness area behind the family’s home.

The Peterson family said their neighborhood has been experiencing a problem with transients.

“There’s been a couple of instances of a homeless person walking up to a neighbor’s house. We know there’s some sort of a homeless camp up on the hill,” Elizabeth’s husband, Ken Peterson, said.

“We do send officers out to those camps to make sure there are no crimes taking place,” Captain Mike Giles with St. George Police said.

The suspect is described as a white male with a gray hoodie with a pattern on it. He had dark facial hair and a was wearing a baseball cap at the time of the break-in.

Peterson says she's grateful the man ran away and did not come across her sleeping daughter.

“Momma instinct kicked in hard; I’m really grateful that she was in there sleeping,” Peterson said.

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