DRAPER — A man with an extensive criminal history for drugs and assault was arrested Monday for investigation of murder in the death of a 15-year-old Riverton girl.
Investigators are accusing him of killing her after she refused to have sex with him.
Now, police and family want to know how 31-year-old Daniel Robert Lehi Ferry — who has a street moniker of "Lil Joe," or "Little Joe" — and Anne Grace Kasprzak came in contact with each other and how she came to be inside his residence.
Ferry killed Anne Grace Kasprzak after she refused to have sex with him, according to a Salt Lake County Jail report. Draper Police Sgt. Chad Carpenter said detectives believe the girl was assaulted inside a home — possibly until she was unconscious — then taken to the Jordan River Parkway where she was killed.
The break in the case came Saturday when another police agency contacted Draper police and said they had received information about Anne's death from a witness, the report states. Draper investigators interviewed that person on Sunday.
Ferry was booked into jail early Monday.
The witness told police that she "witnessed the suspect physically assault the victim" after refusing to have sex, the report states. "The witness observed the suspect remove her unconscious body from the home and leave with the victim in a vehicle."
The address of the house where police served a search warrant — the place where the teen was allegedly assaulted — was redacted from the report. Police would only say Monday that the house is in the south end of the valley. At that residence, forensic technicians conducted testing on a substance that appeared to be blood, according to the report.
Court records show Ferry lived at a residence in White City. Family members living at that address Monday confirmed that the house was searched. But they insisted that Ferry was living somewhere else, that they had never seen Anne Kasprzak and that they believe police arrested the wrong man.
"I think this is crazy and I think it's obscene for sure," said a woman who claimed to be a long-time friend of Ferry but did not wish to be identified. "They definitely have the wrong person."
Despite an extensive criminal record, including spending much of the last decade in prison and having two pending court cases, the friend said Ferry was trying to turn his life around.
Draper police did not know Monday what connection, if any, Anne had with Ferry. Draper police spokesman Maridene Hancock said investigators still don't believe the attack was random, but would not elaborate.
Carpenter said it was unclear Monday whether Anne had been at that residence before.
"There's stuff we still don't know on this case we're trying to figure out," he said. "There's a whole lot of big question marks there we're really starting to get into this week."
Some of the questions still unanswered include how she was killed, how she got to the house where Ferry was, how many people were in the home at the time of the first attack, and whether she had hung out with Ferry before. Carpenter declined to comment on whether Anne had been sexually assaulted.
When asked if other arrests could be made in the case, Hancock would not say.
Anne's father said he had not heard of Ferry before Monday.
"I have no recollection of how Anne had contact with this individual," Dennis Kasprzak said.
He noted, however, that he was grateful to Draper police and the Joint Criminal Apprehension Team for taking Ferry off the street. He also expressed thanks to the witness who came forward to help break the case and hopes others who have information will do the same.
"She's my daughter, she's my baby girl," he said. "He's off the streets, and hopefully they'll collect up the rest of the details and hopefully he'll be put away for the rest of his life."
Anne's mother said her daughter was at her home, near 12800 South and 2300 West, doing homework the night she disappeared on March 10. She was last seen about 7:45 p.m. About an hour later, her parents called Unified police to report their daughter as a runaway.
Ferry has a long criminal history, according to Utah court records. In November, he was charged with felony drug distribution and possession. A court hearing on that case was originally scheduled for later this week. He was also charged in a separate case in 3rd District Court in August with felony drug possession with intent to distribute. A preliminary hearing on that case is scheduled for May.
In January, Ferry pleaded guilty to attempted failure to stop at the command of a police officer, a charge that was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, according to court records. He was placed on probation.
In 2003 he was convicted of felony burglary and sentenced to up to five years at the Utah State Prison.
In 1999, two counts of aggravated assault against Ferry were dismissed in exchange for a guilty plea to failing to stop at the command of a police officer. He was sentenced to up to five years at the Utah State Prison, according to court records.
In a separate case in 1999, he was convicted of aggravated assault and burglary and was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison, according to court records.
Ferry first arrived at the Utah State Prison in 1999 and was paroled in 2003. He was re-arrested and returned to prison a couple of months later. His sentence was terminated by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole in November of 2010.12 comments on this story
Over the weekend, a funeral service was held for Anne. Her father said it was standing room only, showing how many lives she had touched.
Dennis Kasprzak said he has visited the pedestrian bridge along the Jordan Parkway near 12600 South where she was believed to have been killed. A makeshift memorial has also been set up there.
"I just go out there to remember her. I couldn't be there with her to save her and protect her, so I go out there to just make sure everyone else is safe out there."