A Utah man has been charged with aggravated murder after he allegedly slit the throat of a 15-year-old girl who police claim he was ‘obsessed’ with and wanted to marry.
Baleigh Bagshaw, 15, was found dead at her Salt Lake City home on May 7, sparking a national manhunt for Shaun French, 24, who is accused of having a sexual relationship with her.
French, who was arrested just days later, reportedly admitted to a friend that he killed the teen at her home, saying he ‘damn near cut her head off,’ according court documents obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune.
The documents also revealed that French allegedly called Bagshaw days before her death and wanted to meet up with her about accusations that he raped her.
He was allegedly with a friend right before he stopped by the teen’s Salt Lake City home.
Utah man, Shaun French (left), 24, who is suspected of killing 15-year-old, Baleigh Bagshaw (right), has been charged with aggravated murder
Bagshaw (pictured) was found dead at her Salt Lake City home on May 7, sparking a national manhunt for Shaun French, 24, who is accused of having a sexual relationship with her
After Bagshaw’s death, French fled to Wyoming where he reportedly dumped a backpack full of bloody clothing in a convenience store trash can. Salt Lake City investigators searched the Uintah County landfill (pictured) and found a backpack full of bloody clothing and a knife
French reportedly left the friend at a park and went to Bagshaw’s house.
According to court documents, when he came back, he had blood on his face and hands and said he’d cut the girl’s throat.
French then told his friend that they needed to leave town, according to the Tribune. They made their first stop in Wyoming where they reportedly dumped a backpack full of bloody clothing in a convenience store trash can.
More than 250 officers searched the Uintah County landfill in Wyoming and located a backpack full of bloody clothing, a knife, a balaclava, duct tape, rubber gloves and latex gloves, documents revealed.
Another friend told police that French was ‘obsessed’ with Bagshaw and said he wanted to marry her.
A few days before Bagshaw was killed, the teen told her mother that she had sex with French, according to the Tribune. Bagshaw told her mother that the sex began when she was 14.
A short time later, Bagshaw’s mother received nude photos of Bagshaw through a Facebook account created by French.
The mother reportedly talked about reporting French, who they believed was behind the account, to police.
French (left), who was arrested just days later, reportedly admitted to a friend that he killed the teen at her home, saying he ‘damn near cut her head off’
Police said French fled Salt Lake City in a camouflage-painted Daihatsu SUV with a Wyoming license plate
A day later, French called his brother, saying he was going to be charged with rape and wanted to cut his own throat, the Tribune reported.
French was tracked down and arrested two weeks ago in southeast Colorado, where is currently being held at the Otero County Jail until he’s extradited back to Utah.
He was initially charged with three counts of third-degree felony unlawful sexual activity with a minor, before being slapped with the aggravated murder charge.
Bagshaw had been returning from school, and was chatting to her mother on the phone when she was ‘brutally attacked’ and killed, police said.
Her mother heard part of the assault before the line went silent. She alerted a neighbor, who went round to check on Bagshaw before alerting police. The neighbor found the teen’s body just after 3pm.
French was tracked down and arrested two weeks ago in southeast Colorado, where is currently being held at the Otero County Jail until he’s extradited back to Utah
Bagshaw always phoned her mother when she got home from West High school, according to Deseret News.
She was meant to be working at Leatherby’s Family Creamery, an ice-cream shop, but her mother phoned to say she could not come in due to a ‘family emergency’.
Co-worker Gwendolyn Robinson described the teenager as ‘very sweet’, adding: ‘She worked very hard. She was a good girl.
‘I expect her to be walking into work still. It’s not computing.’
Police said that certain ‘evidence’ was ‘widely spread throughout the home and throughout the area’.
French used to live in the same house as Bagshaw but was not living there at the time of her death.
He’d moved in with the family in February 2017, when Bagshaw was 14 years old and he was 23 years old.
A relative of Bagshaw told police they saw French having sexual relations with the girl on three occasions.
Bagshaw enjoyed building props and sets at West High’s theater.
Friend Talia Zamir, 15, said: ‘She was incredibly smart and talented and she always got along with people around her. She was really friendly and nice.
‘And that’s what makes everything so heartbreaking, honestly.’
Sister-in-law Nichole Newman Cannon wrote: ‘I will always remember the funny jokes at the times I needed my head lifted up.
‘You will be greatly missed by your siblings. Love and miss you!’