The man accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend during a weekend party in West Jordan has ties to the Fundamentalist LDS communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.
But support groups who help people who have been kicked out of those cities say the majority of the so-called "Lost Boys" are law-abiding, drug-free citizens.
Police say 18-year-old Parley J. Dutson shot and killed 15-year-old Kara Hopkins early Saturday morning in his apartment near 9300 S. Redwood Road. Dutson, who had been smoking marijuana and taking hallucinogenic mushrooms, according to witnesses, shot Hopkins after she refused to have sex with him, according to court documents.
Dutson remained in the Salt Lake County Jail on Tuesday on $300,000 bail for investigation of attempted aggravated murder, a charge that will be increased once the case is screened by the Salt Lake District Attorney's Office.
Both Hopkins and Dutson lived in southern Utah. Hopkins had moved to Murray within the past few months.
Dutson is considered a "Lost Boy," the name given to those who run away from or are kicked out of the FLDS communities on the Utah-Arizona border. One group that helps so-called "Lost Boys" is the Diversity Foundation.
However, foundation director Shannon Price said Dutson was not someone they were familiar with.
"Parley has not been a client of the Diversity Foundation. We know very little about him," she said. "We don't know the circumstances of his leaving the community."
Other "Lost Boys" of the foundation also told Price they were not familiar with Dutson.
"They've heard of him, but they don't know him," she said.
But Price noted that wasn't unusual. There are many boys who slip through the cracks and do not get help once they leave Hildale or Colorado City. Some of them simply don't know what help is available, she said.
The Utah Attorney General's Office has also been active in trying to help the so-called "Lost Boys."
"We've heard about a lot of kids who are lost, going from home to home, hanging out with dangerous elements," said attorney general's spokesman Paul Murphy. "This case is absolutely heartbreaking but not surprising. It's a wake-up call to government and nonprofit agencies. This is a warning of what could happen with these kids if we don't reach out and give them what they need. They need a place to stay, they need a mentor, they need food, they need help finishing up school."
Price agreed that when a child becomes exiled from the FLDS communities, they become a different person.
"They come from a community that tells them who they are, what they do and how they behave. When you exile a child or adult, they have no safety or frame of reference of who they are," she said.
However, Price said Dutson's actions are not reflective of the majority of teens who become "Lost Boys."
"I have young men who have absolutely nothing to do with drugs or drinking. Those young men (like Dutson), their emotional balance is different," she said. "The young men (with the foundation) and I have talked about the situation with Parley. It's very disheartening. The feeling our young men have is they are sad about what happened. But they want to make sure people know his abuse is not typical of the population. They don't want to be identified as drug- or alcohol-addicted or abused."
Price estimated there are currently 1,000 of the so-called "Lost Boys" on the street. Since FLDS leader Warren Jeffs' arrest, authorities said they have continued to see children leaving the polygamist communities.
"I know that there are still kids leaving," said Gary Engels, an investigator with the Mohave County Attorney's Office who is based in Colorado City. "As far as if they're being told to leave or if they are leaving on their own, I don't know."Comment on this story
"The children we are seeing are getting younger and younger," Price said.
Whereas a year ago the typical "Lost Boy" was 16 or 17 years old, they are now 14 and 15. Price said some of that may be due to the youths' writing home to their siblings and other relatives, telling them their lives have been fine since leaving and encouraging them to do the same."We have a lot of men who want to continue their education ... young men who want to play on a football team, to get an education," she said.
Contributing: Ben Winslow