Authorities investigating the weekend deaths of two West High School students say they will meet with county attorneys Thursday to discuss evidence in the case.
Two juveniles left the scene of a Sunday morning accident that took the lives of Jayson Wilson, 16, and Peter Wilson, 18. Police say the foursome had been "joy riding" in a stolen automobile full of stolen goods when it plunged in a canal in North Salt Lake.The two survivors unsuccessfully attempted to rescue the others before leaving the scene. They failed to notify authorities about the accident until Monday afternoon when the bodies were recovered.
Meanwhile, family and friends of the victims say many questions about the incident remain unanswered.
"What most people want to know is why (the two survivors) didn't tell anybody," said Jim Chandler, the resource officer assigned to West High.
"Everyone's feeling kind of hostile towards them," said one student. Schoolmates want to know, "Why'd you leave them hanging?" he said.
Students and teachers at West High said the mood at the school Tuesday was solemn.
"I sure wouldn't want to be those two (survivors)," said basketball coach Robert Lyman. While some students talked of taking revenge against those who left the two victims in the canal, he said he tried to convince them to divert their anger elsewhere.
"I'd rather they focus on the good that Jayson and Peter were rather than get all hellbent and atone for it," he said.
Others questioned the role Jayson and Peter played in the auto theft.
"There's no question that all four were involved in the car theft," said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Harwood. Salt Lake police reports indicate the stolen car contained items believed taken in a number of car burglaries. A vehicle belonging to one of the boys was also recovered at the scene. It too was "full of stolen property," according to reports.
But those close to the duo say they were not the type to steal.
"I don't believe that for a minute," said a fellow basketball teammate, Derrick Davis. "For all the times that I've been out with them (Jayson and Peter) on Friday or Saturday nights, I would have known about it."
Jayson's stepfather described Jayson as a "constant straight-A student," and said Peter (who had lived with their family for the past 2 1/2 years) was a "hard-working kid" and neither was likely to commit such crime.
"I know they didn't steal the car," said Mike Scott. "They've never been in any trouble."
He believes the four met at a party and agreed to go for a ride in the already-stolen car.
Scott said Jayson's car was found near the site where the stolen car was submerged and said the car contained a "normal teenage mess" and not a stash of stolen goods as the police have told him.
But investigators say all four were involved in the vehicle's theft - a practice that is becoming more popular these days among juveniles.
"It used to be shoplifting . . . or stealing an apple off the neighbor's tree," Harwood said. "Now it's $8,000 cars and joy riding."
Kids as young as 12 and 13 years old have recently been caught stealing cars in Salt Lake County, and the problem is escalating, he said. "Some of them can't even see over the damn steering wheel!
"This is becoming more acceptable in society and it really concerns us."