A father and son who tied up a mom and her daughters in Utah last month also allegedly kidnapped and killed a rail worker while on the lam, the Lincoln County, Wyoming District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.
The body of Kay Porter Ricks, 63, was found near a dirt road last month. Dereck “DJ” Harrison and his father, Flint Wayne Harrison, who are already being charged for the initial kidnapping of the women in Utah, are now the prime suspects in the Wyoming homicide.
Police have recovered the murder weapon used to beat Ricks, according to a criminal complaint obtained by The Daily Beast. Lincoln County Attorney Spencer Allred said the father and son fugitives allegedly abducted Ricks from a Salt Lake City UTA TRAX light rail platform on May 12. They were arrested by police in Wyoming on May 14.
Ricks was found 45 feet from the nearest road, hidden under a sage bush. His face was so badly beaten that it was “impossible to determine eye color, nose or cheek features,” according to the complaint. An autopsy would later show his eye sockets had collapsed and his lungs were filled with blood. The probable cause of death: “severe crushing facial injuries, due to beating.”
According to the complaint, a “commotion” registered on Ricks’s radio around 4:59 p.m. on May 12. He didn’t respond to radio contact about an hour later, and was reported missing the next morning.
On May 17, the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office received an update from colleagues that Ricks’s truck was spotted in Wyoming. Witnesses identified the Harrisons as the people they saw riding the truck, but couldn’t identify Ricks. By that afternoon, police found Ricks’s body on a side road. The word “Kay” was written on a patch on his shirt.
Sixty-five yards from his body, police found two cigarette butts and bright green spray paint.
Investigators would later match the spray paint to the Harrisons’ truck.
“The family just doesn’t want these two men outside of a jail cell again,” Ricks family spokesman Richard Massey told the Salt Lake Tribune. “The sheer brutality is incomprehensible.”
The two men encountered Ricks while on the lam after tying up and assaulting a mother and her four daughters, authorities say. They forced the females into the basement of their home, but the women managed to break free and escape. The 17-year-old sister even hit DJ with a baseball bat on her way out.
Police caught up with Flint Harrison in the early morning of Saturday, May 14. He then helped police hunt for his son, who was apprehended later that day.
After being returned to Utah, the father and son were charged with five counts of aggravated kidnapping and five counts of aggravated assault for the initial kidnapping incident. They may face the death penalty if charged in the Wyoming death, but prosecutors have not yet said whether they will pursue it.