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Utah Cold Cases

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Utah Murders

If you want to further investigate the number of murders in Utah by year, you can visit the websites of many local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, which often publish comprehensive reports with more information on crimes committed in the area during specific periods of time. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, in addition to Utah’s many law enforcement agencies, compiles and publishes an annual Uniform Crime Report that provides detailed information and statistics on the various types of crimes and their crime rates for each state, including many counties and cities in every state. Another great resource is Project: Cold Case, which partnered with the Murder Accountability Project to compile a comprehensive list of the number of unsolved murders in every state between 1980 and 2019. Based on that list, there were nearly 2,730 homicides in Utah during that time period. On closer inspection, around 2,005 of these murders have been solved during the same period, so police have around 725 unsolved murders in Utah, according to the latest website update.

Some examples of the many unsolved murders in northern Utah which you may find within various law enforcement lists and databases include the 1984 murder of Andrew Jay Hansen, the 1986 murder of Carla Maxwell, the 2008 murder of Cody Lynn Dodge, the 1981 murder of Emerson Millet Schafer, and the 2015 murder of Francisco Lopez, among many others. The 2008 murder of Doug Clive Nelson, the 2013 murder of Nathan Tyler Huan, the 1984 murder of Pam Ellen Page, the 1978 murder of Marla Rae Scharp, the 1982 murder of Marty James Shook, and the 1989 murder of Anthony Chavez are additional examples of more cases included within various lists, being some of the many unsolved central Utah murders. In addition, some unsolved murders in Salt Lake County, Utah, which may be found in the same places include the 1971 murder of Michael Preston Bown, the 2001 murder of Doris Anaid Hernandez, the 1971 murder of Johanna Leatherbury, and the 1978 murder of Richard Eugene Stanley, the 1986 murder of Terry Bakker, the 1998 murder of Trisha Baristains, the 1977 murder of Valaine Briggs, the 1994 murder of Kimberly Evans, and the 1981 murder of James Douglas Odom, in addition to the 2011 disappearance of Aletha Williams, which represent some examples of unsolved murders in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Unsolved Utah Murders

As mentioned previously, not only can you find murder statistics on various law enforcement websites, but you can also find a complete list of the number of unsolved murders in each state on the Project: Cold Case website. To reiterate, according to Project: Cold Case, there are currently about 725 unsolved cases in Utah, a number that has dropped dramatically as law enforcement agencies continue to investigate unsolved cases. Most, if not all, of the unsolved murders in Utah can be found on the websites of various local and general law enforcement agencies, in addition to those listed on the Utah Department of Public Safety’s cold cases website.

A few of the many northern Utah unsolved murders that are listed on various law enforcement websites include the 1984 murder of Andrew Jay Hansen, the 1986 murder of Carla Maxwell, the 2008 murder of Cody Lynn Dodge, the 1981 murder of Emerson Millet Schafer, and the 2015 murder of Francisco Lopez, among many others. The 1986 murder of Terry Bakker, the 1998 murder of Trisha Baristains, the 1977 murder of Valaine Briggs, the 1994 murder of Kimberly Evans, and the 1981 murder of James Douglas Odom, along with the 2001 disappearance of Aletha Williams, are a few examples of the many unsolved murders Salt Lake City, Utah, which are also among these lists or databases. Lastly, other unsolved murders Utah included in the lists of cold cases are the many east Utah unsolved murders, frequently including the 2000 murder of George Kemp, the 1972 murder of Gregory Nickell, the 1991 murder of Wayne Ferguson, the 1981 murder of Paul McPherson, the 1976 murder of Orthea Duncan Wamsley, and the 1973 murder of Ann Woodward, among several others.

Joseph Smedley
Joseph SmedleySuspicious Death, 2015
Asha Degree
Asha DegreeMissing, 2000

Consider this

More than 200,000 unsolved cases have gone cold since 1980, and murder clearance rates continue to drop. With equity for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other underserved victims not prioritized in the true crime community—together we can do better.

Famous Utah Murders

If you’re someone who has an interest in true crime, you might be a little more interested in unsolved crimes as well as solved crimes, several of which may be included in the the list of all murders in Utah, list of Utah murders, or even list of murders in Utah. Not only can you discover both unsolved and solved crimes on lists like these, but you can also find famous Utah murders, notorious Utah criminals, famous strange or mysterious Utah disappearances, and occasionally even prominent Utah serial killers, which we will discuss later. Some examples are the 1978 murder of Anthony Adams, the 2013 murder of Nathan Haun, the 1984 murder of Pamela Page, and the 1995 murder of Rosie Tapia. Another well-known unsolved cold case is that of Susan Powell, who disappeared in 2009 under suspicious circumstances, and who is presumed dead, in addition to the unsolved 2001 disappearance of Aletha Williams, which are a few examples of the most infamous Utah murders which remain unsolved to this day.

Homicide Rate in Utah

Based on information shared within the 2019 Uniform Crime Report (UCR) from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the violent crime rate in Utah was approximately 235.6 per 100,000 people. In other words, just around 236 people per 100,000 citizens in Utah were directly affected by violent crime in 2019. According to the same source, the homicide rate in Utah was roughly 2.2 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2019. This implies that approximately 2 persons per 100,000 occupants of Utah were murdered in 2019 alone.

Salt Lake City, Utah, is the state’s largest city, with a population of about 200,000 citizens, in addition to being the state’s capital city. In 2018, the violent crime rate in Salt Lake City, Utah, was roughly 730.38 per 100,000 people, while the Salt Lake City, Utah, murders rate was 4.94 per 100,000 individuals the same year. While there’s no way of confirming how many murders in Utah 2021 or even how many murders in Salt Lake City, Utah, 2021, we do know that, based on the information shared in historical reports, the homicide rate and the violent crime rate in both Salt Lake City and Utah as a whole appear to rise slowly on an annual basis.

Salt Lake County Murders

Salt Lake County, Utah, now has a very large and growing population of more than 1.16 million inhabitants. Despite the fact that we don’t know the exact number of murders which have happened in Salt Lake County in previous years, prior FBI Uniform Crime Reports indicate that there were 17 murders in 2016, 13 murders in 2017, and 5 murders in 2019. According to these sources, the number of murders in Salt Lake County every year seems to be remaining pretty consistent, although they do appear to be declining gradually each year. Once homicide detectives can gather adequate Salt Lake County murders evidence, they can sometimes arrest and charge a murder suspect before sending them to their Salt Lake County murders trial. Depending on the type of crime, the most prevalent evidence given in Salt Lake County homicide trials includes DNA evidence, trace evidence, biological evidence, and sometimes even Salt Lake County murders crime scene photos.

Salt Lake City, Utah, Murders

Salt Lake City, Utah, murders tend to be significantly more prevalent than homicides in most other Utah cities, presumably due to the city’s very large and growing size and population. Numerous recent and decades-old murders in Salt Lake City, Utah, have already been solved, while police continue to look into the remaining unsolved crimes. As anticipated, until all of the remaining homicides are solved, people will speculate and exchange information concerning Salt Lake City murders pictures, Salt Lake City murders crime scene photos, and even Salt Lake City, Utah, murders autopsy photos on social media websites such as Facebook, Reddit, and Websleuths.

In the past few years, breakthrough advancements within DNA and forensic technology have resulted in the solving of hundreds, if not thousands, of decades-old unsolved cases, and Utah isn’t any different. The 2010 murder of Sherry Black, the 1982 murder of Wilhelmina Reid, and the 1995 murder of Tracy Beslanowitch are just a few of the numerous examples where Salt Lake City murders DNA, or DNA from crimes in other regions of Utah, was utilized to solve or provide new information to cold cases.

Utah Serial Killers

Serial killers may pique your curiosity if you are interested in the genre of true crime. If you’ve ever glanced through a serial killer list, you’ve likely come across one or more Utah serial killers without even noticing it. Interestingly, there are far more Utah serial killers than you would think, and they frequently appear among any list of serial killers in Utah or Utah serial killer list. One of the most notorious Utah serial killers who commonly appears on these lists includes the following: Wesley Howard Shermantine, Jr., also known as “The Speed Freak Killer,” who murdered 4-24 people from 1984-1999. Other Utah killers often found on these lists include Salt Lake City, Utah, serial killers, including Arthur Gary Bishop, also known as “Roger Downs” or “Lynn Jones,” who murdered 5 children from 1979-1983; and Theodore “Ted” Robert Bundy, who confessed to killing 30 young women and girls in the 1970s in Utah, Colorado, Florida, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Vermont.

Crimes in Utah

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Project: Cold Case, the Murder Accountability Project, and the Utah Department of Public Safety are all fantastic resources for reading further about crimes in Utah, specifically crime data. The FBI Uniform Crime Report, as well as reports issued by the Utah Department of Public Safety on a regular basis, are invaluable tools for learning about the many sorts of crimes that occur in Utah and for calculating crime rates in different areas.

While it may appear that Utah will never be able to put a stop to every homicide or true crime tale in the state, consider how far the state has come in recent years. In all, there were 2,730 killings in Utah between 1980 and 2019, with roughly 2,005 of the cases being solved, leaving the state with approximately 725 unsolved murders. Advances in forensic technology, as well as the efforts and dedication of law enforcement agencies in even the most difficult unsolved cases, have all contributed to the progress accomplished. In the end, authorities from several law enforcement and investigative organizations from all across Utah will continue their investigations into the remaining unsolved crimes, until they are finally able to solve all of Utah’s true crimes.

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Additional Utah Cold Cases

Dennis AndersonSteven AndersonNancy BairdTobey BakerLakhbir BanwaitGarrett BardsleyKarleen BarlowJimmy BarneyKenneth BatchelorRichard BillmayerDouglas BrickValaine BriggsLaundrae BrownDeane BrownWayne BuckleyJoseph BushlingAndrei CampanaBobbi CampbellRichelle CarvalhoDeborah CarverJohn CasperYuris Colindres-AvilaTrent CollierErlin ContrerasEztli Cortez TrujilloSusan Cox PowellCurtis CrosbySusan CurtisKiplyn DavisFred DavisJuan DelgadoJason DennisRonald DruceDwayne DuttonCharles Edmonds, JrAnne ElliottJose FalconEmerson FarnsworthBartt FeltJuan FowlesCruz Franco-AlfaroDebra FrostFrederick GabrielFontella GallowayHarold GalvisIsai GarciaBrenda GomezLuis GonzalesMichael GustaRussell HanksMelvin HeapsPeggy Hernandez-SotoAnnette HillJustin HooimanStephen HughesAdam HutchinsonRandall IrvinMichael JacobsDavid JaramilloRyan JensenReed JeppsonToby JespersenLucero JimenezRuth JimenezFrank JohnsonMichael JohnstonMark JohnstonRhonda KarrenWilbur KerneyHarry KeserJennifer KleinJames KlingSteven KoecherJose LizarragaEdd LopeMichael MarshKimberly MartinezAngelo MartinezRobert MarvinWilliam McBride IIIMary MillerLark MontagueDarrel NicholsJeffrey NicholsSarah NorfleetThomas NovakJeffery O'CarrollTimothy ParryRobby PeayLinda PetersonMarlene PichcuskieDouglas PlummerSydnee PorterAyyub PughAnna PurdyAngelica Quintana-CarrilloMichael ReeseFernando RodriguezEverett RuessMaria SalazarElizabeth SalgadoJoseph SantiDaniel ScottJaydan SealFrances SessionsHalima SharmariceMichael SheftellRosa ShipleyRaymond ShurtzJack SimmonsJose Sisco-RamirezMacin SmithStephanie SmithMartin SmithDennis SmithVickie SmockSarah SnowKenneth StarbuckChad StattmanJanis StavrosDennise SullivanDouglass Svendson IiiRobert TrujilloFrank VerucchiJohn WagnerSheree WarrenAmy WestreicherRebecca WhiteNancy WilcoxAletha WilliamsAletha Jo WilliamsTheodore Wyasket Jr.Joyce YostVilate Young