Two escapees from a prison halfway house are being held in the Summit County Jail while investigators piece together evidence in a double murder that has stunned a recreation cabin community in the mountains 40 miles east of Salt Lake City.
Von Lester Taylor, 25, and Edward Steven Deli, 21, were booked into the Summit County Jail following their arrest Saturday night in the nearby town of Francis, a sheriff's spokesman said Sunday.They are being held without bail "for investigation of capital homicide" in connection with the shooting deaths of two women and the wounding of a man in the Beaver Springs subdivision in Weber Canyon. No charges had been filed as of Monday.
Investigators said Beth Harmon Tidwell Potts, who was in her mid-70s, and her daughter, Kay Tidwell Tiede, 51, were dead at the scene. Rolf Tiede, 51, suffered a gunshot wound in the face and was listed in fair and stable condition Monday in University Hospital.
The Tiedes' two daughters, ages 16 and 20, were taken hostage in the incident but escaped without injury about an hour later when their abductors were captured at gunpoint. Utah Department of Corrections officials confirmed Sunday that the two men who were arrested in the case had been reported missing from the Orange Street Community Corrections Center in Salt Lake City on Dec. 14.
"Both were on parole status," said David R. Franchina, deputy director of Corrections for public affairs. "They had gone out on a job search on Dec. 14 and were due back late that afternoon. When they failed to return, they were immediately listed as walk-aways and law enforcement agencies were notified."
Taylor had been sentenced to five years to life in prison for aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony. After being paroled Oct. 23, he was sent to the Ogden Community Corrections Center. He was transferred to the Salt Lake halfway house Nov. 23, Franchina said.
Deli was convicted of aggravated arson, a third-degree felony, and was paroled to the halfway house Nov. 27, Franchina said.
Detective Sgt. Robert Berry said the Tiede family traveled to their cabin for a holiday outing Saturday afternoon and apparently surprised burglars inside. The burglars shot the three victims and kidnapped the sisters, Berry said. The two-story cabin was also set afire and sustained substantial damage on the upper floor.
Berry said the sheriff's office was notified of the shooting at 3:36 p.m. by a caller who reported that two male suspects had fled on snowmobiles with hostages. A neighbor later spotted the sisters with two men in a westbound car and called the sheriff's office on his mobile phone.
"A high-speed chase ensued for several miles until the suspect vehicle ran off the road at Lemon's Dugway in Francis," Berry said. "One of the male suspects exited the car and confronted the officers with a handgun."
A Kamas police officer fired two shots at the armed suspect, who then dropped his gun and surrendered, Berry said, adding that no one was injured during the arrest. The sisters were extremely frightened and distraught, but had not been physically harmed, he said.
Emergency personnel were dispatched to the cabin, which is accessible only by snowmobile, and found the shooting victims. All three were taken by air ambulance to Salt Lake hospitals.
The state medical examiner, fire marshal and numerous other law enforcement officers scoured the crime scene in sub-zero weather throughout most of the day Sunday. Cabin owners were not allowed to enter the subdivision until Sunday night.
Detectives interviewed a number of witnesses Sunday but released no additional details about the crime.
Several cabin owners said Beaver Springs is normally crowded during the Christmas holidays, but bitterly cold temperatures had kept most people away over the weekend. The double murder has further chilled the remote community.
"It really scares us," said Colene Williams, whose family has a cabin not far from the Tiedes'. "We've never had to worry about things like that happening up there; we felt secure there."
A locked gate was supposed to keep all but property owners and guests out of the subdivision, she said. However, the burglars somehow managed to gain access to snowmobiles inside a roadside storage shed and enter the area undeterred.
"From now on, we'll be looking over our shoulders," said Williams. "This has made us think that maybe we should do more to protect ourselves."
Jack York, president of the Beaver Springs homeowners association, said security is likely to be a major topic at future meetings. "We've never had any problems before. If there is something we can do to prevent these things from happening, we will take the necessary steps."