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Investigation continues into death of two boys in South Jordan

Published: Sunday, Nov. 17 2013 8:54 p.m. MST

Police are investigating deaths of two boys who were found dead with gunshot wounds. (Shutterstock) Police are investigating deaths of two boys who were found dead with gunshot wounds. (Shutterstock)

SOUTH JORDAN — Police did not release any new information in the ongoing investigation of the death of two teenage boys.

South Jordan Police Department investigators are still waiting on details from the medical examiner's office, they reported Sunday afternoon, and are reviewing other evidence to make sense of the events surrounding the deaths.

"We do not plan on releasing any new information related to this case, as the investigation will be active over the next several weeks," South Jordan City Police Sgt. Samuel Winkler said in a statement, Sunday.

Taylor Wheeler, 12, and Dayton Gessell, 15, were found dead Friday inside a home at 4781 W. Pine Canyon Way. The boys are not related, and neither lived in the home.

A boy who reportedly was in the home when shots were fired flagged down an off-duty officer from West Valley City who was in the neighborhood, at about 4:30 p.m. Friday.

The officer then alerted South Jordan police, who secured the premises until investigators could return with a warrant.

On Saturday police confirmed that they had no other suspects to consider in the shooting deaths of the two boys.

"The community does not need to fear that there are gunmen on the loose, running around the community," Winkler said Saturday.

South Jordan Police "processed" three teen boys, two of whom were in the home at the time of the deaths — ages 16, 14 and 14 — on Friday, and released them to their parents. They did not question any of the young men. Two of the three live in the home.

"Right now we don't consider them suspects but we haven't ruled it out either," he said. "We know that they were in the house. We don't know where in the house they were when this took place."

Police said they will question the boys soon, but were giving the boys time to cope with the deaths.

"Obviously you can assume that when they have a couple of their friends that this happened to, that they'd be quite traumatized," the sergeant said. "That's why it took so long to go through the process. We wanted to be gentle with them. We wanted to make sure we comforted them and met their needs in addition to doing our investigation."

Detectives found three handguns in the home, but Winkler said they do not yet know the owners of the guns, their origin or if they were involved in the deaths.

"This case is still in its infancy," Winkler said. "We do not get a lot of homicides in South Jordan so we are making sure we are going slow and we are taking the proper steps."

Police have spoken with officials in the Jordan School District who say that they will have more counselors at the schools available to students. Police also encouraged parents to talk with their kids about how to handle the stress and sense of loss that these deaths may have triggered.

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