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Grim tally: Officers investigate 48 Utah homicides in 2010, including 11 children

4 Utah law enforcers were also killed last year

Published: Sunday, Jan. 2 2011 10:06 p.m. MST

In November, Layton police admitted that investigating the deaths of five children in seven months had taken a toll on their department.

"I've had dreams that little Ethan has walked up to me and smiled at me, and another one where he rode by me on a bike and smiled," veteran police detective Brooke Plotnick said. "And I've had dreams with the Sloops in them, too. Well, I wouldn't call those dreams. Those are more nightmares."

Ultimately, the cases ended up being too much for some detectives who asked to be transferred out of the Investigation Unit at the end of 2010.

"We hope it's a year we never have to repeat," said Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings.

Rawlings called his staff a group of "professionals who do their job often under stressful, emotional situations." But he noted that they are also human beings and the cases made an impact on their personal lives.

In addition to the high profile cases, Rawlings said his office of 12 prosecutors, eight secretaries and a handful of other staff members handled a total of about 7,000 cases in 2010. But rather than just keeping their heads above water, he complimented his staff for "swimming pretty fast upstream."

Child deaths

The Deseret News counted 11 juveniles under the age of 18 who were the victims of homicide in 2010. Four of them were under 10 years old.

Just a month after Ethan's body was discovered, 4-year-old Vanessa Hart of Kearns died of massive head trauma and massive internal injuries. Vanessa's father and live-in girlfriend, Marina Navarro, were each charged with murder.

In July in South Salt Lake, Angeles Cadillo-Castro, 31, was arrested for allegedly beating her 5-year-old daughter to death with a spatula.

In August, Taylor Pankow, 15, was allegedly stabbed to death by a 16-year-old classmate because of a dispute over an iPod.

Officer deaths

Law enforcers who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect their communities also hit a disturbing spike in 2010.

In Utah, funerals were held for four police officers.

 On Jan. 5, Millard County sheriff's deputy Josie Greathouse Fox, 37, was gunned down and killed without warning while making a traffic stop on US-50 east of Delta.

 Sevier County Sheriff's Sgt. Franco Aguilar was knocked off a bridge and plummeted more than 200 feet to his death on April 29 while assisting a motorist who had crashed on an icy bridge in a remote area of I-70. Another motorist, driving too fast for conditions, slid into the first accident and knocked Aguilar off the bridge.

 Bureau of Indian Affairs officer Josh Yazzie was killed in a rollover accident in Roosevelt on June 7.

 Kane County sheriff's deputy Brian Harris was shot and killed Aug. 26 while running after a suspected burglar. Harris chased the man through the border towns of Kanab and Fredonia, Ariz. He was ambushed, shot and killed in Fredonia. His death was not included in Utah's statistics since the shooting occurred in Arizona.

The year marked a couple of unwanted firsts in Utah: Fox became the first female officer murdered in the line of duty. Aguilar became the first Hispanic officer in Utah to die in the line of duty.

For Utah's men and women in blue, most will view 2010 as a "bad year," said Robert Kirby, historian for the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial, and not a sign that their job has suddenly become more dangerous.

It's understood that being killed in the line of duty is one of the inherent risks of being a police officer, he said.

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