SALT LAKE CITY — Police continue to search for a 24-year-old man they say is a person of interest in the murder of a West High School student near 1650 West 500 North.
Salt Lake City police were called after the mother of the 15-year-old victim, Baleigh Bagshaw, called a neighbor to check on her daughter. Sgt. Brandon Shearer said she was on the phone with her daughter, who had just come home from school on Monday, when she heard her daughter being brutally attacked.
Initially, police officers brought in K-9 officers to help in the search for a suspect, telling reporters they were sure who to search for.
“One thing we typically do if we know we have a suspect who could have been in the area recently is haul out our K-9s to come search the area and see if they can possibly develop a track,” Shearer said.
At 9 p.m., Salt Lake Police announced on Twitter they were searching for a person of interest.
“Shaun French 24, may be driving a Daihatsu Rocky 1991, camouflage in color, Wyo listing 19-13974,” the department tweeted. “Shaun French may be heading to Wyoming. Considered armed and dangerous.
#PersonOfInterest in today’s #Homicide looking for Shaun French 24, may be driving a Daihatsu Rocky 1991, camouflage in color, Wyo listing 19-13974. Picture of vehicle is not actual vehicle. If you see a vehicle matching this description or know where Shaun is call 801-799-3000. pic.twitter.com/BlCiwptKrv
— SLC Police Dept. (@slcpd) May 8, 2018
#PersonOfInterest Shaun French may be heading to Wyoming. Considered armed and dangerous. #Victim in #Homicide has been identified as a 15-year-old female. If you know where Shaun is call 801-799-3000. pic.twitter.com/eF6aMkqTLN
— SLC Police Dept. (@slcpd) May 8, 2018
Police believe French may be headed to Wyoming, Colorado or even Ohio, likely using I-80 to travel. They have not identified him as a suspect, but are calling him a person of interest.
Shearer says the attack appeared to have been violent. He expected detectives to remain on the scene at Bagshaw’s house through the day, collecting evidence.
People who knew and worked with Bagshaw say they’re struggling to understand why anyone would hurt her. Neighbor Paul Bouck says they’ve seen burglaries and other crimes on their section of 500 North, but nothing this serious. He’s known Bagshaw since she was very young.
“When she was little, she would come past here on her way to school and they would always say, ‘Hello, Brother Bouck! How are you doing?” Bouck says.
Bagshaw worked at the Leatherby’s on North Temple for roughly a year. Her boss Diana Nguyen says she thought it was a cruel prank when she was told about the murder.
“My son came and told me, ‘Mom, do you know Baleigh was murdered? Someone killed her.’ I said, ‘Are you joking?’” she says.
She, and Co-Owner Gwendolyn Robinson remembers Bagshaw as a nice girl who always had a smile on her face, even after a long, difficult shift at the restaurant.
“She was sweet. I really cared about her. I thought she was a really good person. She went to school and she came straight here and worked hard. She had a lot of potential,” Robinson says.
If you know anything about the teen’s death, or know were French is, police ask that you call 801-799-3000.
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