Residents of a small Wyoming hunting town were told to shelter in place Saturday as authorities searched for an “extremely dangerous” man accused of kidnapping and assaulting a mother and her four daughters.
The Sublette County Sheriff’s Office evacuated a Pinedale campground and told the 2,000 or so residents of the town to stay in their houses while Dereck James Harrison, 22, remained on the run.
Harrison’s father, Flint Wayne Harrison, 51, turned himself in to authorities at about 1:45 a.m. local time Saturday, and told investigators that his son was nearby, according to a sheriff’s office statement.
The younger Harrison has “made direct threats towards law enforcement officials” and is thought to be armed with two knives and two rifles, and is considered “extremely dangerous,” according to the statement.
The two men were wanted on felony kidnapping and assault charges in Utah for luring a mother and her four daughters, ages 13 to 18, to their house for a barbecue on Tuesday. While there, the men allegedly tied them up in a basement with wire and duct tape, according to police in Centerville, north of Salt Lake City.
The mother and some of the young girls were assaulted with a baseball bat during their capture and as they attempted to break free, Centerville police said. By the time they did escape, the suspects had already fled.
“The motive appears to be retaliation on the mother. The exact reason is still under investigation,” Centerville police said in a statement.
Police and Derrick Harrison’s mother, MaryAnn Harrison, told NBC affiliate KSL that the men were close with the mother and the girls and that her son may have been high on methamphetamine at the time of the alleged assault.
“He would never hurt this family. This is a family that we love,” MaryAnn Harrison said.
The elder Harrison is registered as a sex offender in Pinedale for attempted forcible sexual assault, according to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation. He will be extradited back to Utah to face charges related to Tuesday’s alleged assault, KSL reported.