Uintah County shooting probe hampered by uncooperative victim, deputies say
Geoff Liesik, Uintah County Jail
VERNAL — Uintah County sheriff's detectives say a woman who was shot in the leg and critically injured last week refuses to talk to them about what happened and is hampering their investigation.
The shooting was discovered about 1:30 a.m. Thursday when a sheriff's sergeant assigned to the Uintah Basin Narcotics Strike Force stopped a sport-utility vehicle after it left a "known drug house" near 4800 West and 500 North, Uintah County Undersheriff John Laursen said.
The sergeant found Karly Paige Falk, also known as Karly Carter, in the back seat of the SUV. She was bleeding from a gunshot wound to the inside of her right thigh, Laursen said.
Falk, 21, initially told deputies she had been walking to a friend's house when another SUV pulled up and someone inside the vehicle shot her, the undersheriff said. She was flown to University Hospital in Salt Lake, where she underwent six hours of surgery to repair extensive damage to her leg, Laursen said.
"One of our detectives drove out to the hospital to interview her when she came out of surgery," he said. "She wouldn't talk to our investigator at all."
Detectives interviewed the man who was driving the SUV where Falk was discovered. He would only say that he'd received a call saying the injured woman needed a ride, Laursen said. A search of the SUV did not turn up a gun, a bullet casing or any other evidence aside from Falk's blood, the undersheriff said.
Investigators also went through the house the man had left just moments before the traffic stop. Again they found no evidence of a shooting, according to Laursen.
Four adults in the house told detectives Falk was already wounded when she arrived with the driver of the SUV. They said they told the driver to take Falk to the hospital after they spotted the sheriff's sergeant driving past the house, the undersheriff said.
Deputies searched the area where Falk told them the shooting allegedly took place but did not find anything to corroborate her account of what happened, Laursen said. Investigators haven't ruled out the possibility that Falk's injury was accidentally self-inflicted, he said.
"At this point, we haven't ruled anything out," the undersheriff said.
Court records show Falk pleaded guilty June 3 to possession of a controlled substance, a third-degree felony. Although she isn't scheduled to be sentenced until Aug. 12, the conviction alone would make it illegal for Falk to have a gun.
Without any assistance from Falk or the others involved, Laursen said, the sheriff's office is hoping someone else will come forward.
"We're open to any information that would help us solve this case," Laursen said.
Anyone with information should call the Uintah County Sheriff's Office at 435-789-2511. Callers can remain anonymous, Laursen said.
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