Utah boy, 15, arrested on suspicion of killing younger brothers

Reuters News
Posted: May 23, 2013 3:26 PM

By Dan Whitcomb

(Reuters) - A 15-year-old Utah boy was arrested on Thursday on suspicion he stabbed to death his two younger brothers, ages 10 and four, at the family home while their mother was out running errands, law enforcement officials said.

The boy, from the community of West Point, was taken into custody a day after the bodies of his brothers were found dead with what appeared to be "penetrating knife wounds," said Sergeant Susan Poulsen of the Davis County Sheriff's Office.

"As a result of our investigation, this morning we have taken the 15-year-old juvenile into custody," Poulsen said, adding that prosecutors were expected to formally charge the boy on Monday. "We believe he acted alone."

The arrest comes amid heightened national attention to violence by children following the high profile stabbing death last month of an 8-year-old California girl, Leila Fowler. Her 12-year-old brother has been charged with second-degree murder in her death.

In the Utah case, police went to the house on Wednesday evening after the boys' mother called 911 shortly after 7:30 p.m. local time, telling a dispatcher she had returned from running errands to find her 4-year-old son dead on the floor.

The woman said her two older sons were missing. The father of the boys, who is on active duty in the U.S. military, was out of town.

Sheriff's deputies who responded to the scene found the body of the 10-year-old boy in the home, and launched a search in and around West Point, about 25 miles north of Salt Lake City, for the older brother.

He was found at about midnight some five to seven miles away in a neighboring community, in good condition, and taken to a hospital for evaluation and treatment of minor injuries.

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Poulsen said that the manner of death of the younger boys was consistent with stab wounds but that an autopsy would be conducted before a formal determination was made. She declined to comment on evidence against the 15-year-old boy or a possible motive for the crime.

"We had enough probable cause to arrest him on suspicion of homicide," Poulsen said.

The names of the victims and that of the boy arrested were being withheld by authorities because of their age.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Alden Bentley)