MURRAY, Utah, Oct. 8, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A man is in jail after police say he kidnapped his former girlfriend, beat her for multiple hours at sites around the Salt Lake Valley, and left her bloody, disfigured, and fighting for her life.
Timothy James Peterson, 35, was arrested late Friday by Saratoga Springs Police officers, assisted by officers from Utah County Major Crimes Unit, the Salt Lake Metro Gang Unit, and the Murray Police Department.
Peterson faces felony charges of kidnapping and aggravated assault. He was taken into custody without incident after officials tracked him to a Murray motel where he was staying, said Cpl. Nick Stidham, Saratoga Spring Police Department.
The Saratoga Springs Police Department has a contract to work with the Bluffdale Precinct. At about 3:14 a.m. Oct. 1, SSPD Officer Jason Goode was patrolling Wardel Regional Park, 14068 S. 2700 West, Bluffdale.
When Goode stopped near the passenger side of a white sedan, in the park long after closing time, he noticed the car’s back window draped on the outside with a blanket, according to a probable cause statement filed in the case. The suspect, whom police have identified as Peterson, was leaning into the back seat, making rocking movements as if he were punching something.
Goode exited his patrol car and told the suspect to turn around, which he did. Goode then saw the back driver’s side door open.
“(The victim, name redacted) ran to Officer Goode’s patrol vehicle and frantically attempted to get into his front passenger door, screaming,” the statement says.
“As (the victim) was running and stumbling toward officer Goode, he noticed her face appeared to be disfigured and blood was running down her face from her nose and eyes. (Her) clothing with saturated with blood. Her arms and legs were also covered with blood.”
The suspect began walking away, then started running. Goode told the victim to wait, and ran after the suspect, the probable cause statement says. Goode lost sight of the suspect as he ran behind a restroom building, and apparently disappeared into an area of thick foliage.
Goode summoned backup, and showed officers a photo I.D. of Peterson that was found inside his car.
“(The victim) briefly explained to officer Good that Timothy had been beating her all day long,” the probable cause statement says. “(She) stated she tried to escape, but Timothy convinced her with force to get back into the vehicle. (She) struggled to explain what had happened, and repeatedly told Officer Goode that her head hurt.”
She told the officer she had lived with Peterson, but they had separated, the statement said.
An emergency room physician characterized the victim’s injuries as extensive, and said she would need medical procedures to repair her broken teeth and split lip, the statement said. It added that she had sustained severe bruising to her face, limbs and torso, and had severe injuries to her neck and throat that were consistent with being strangled. Her nose was broken, and her ears had been partially separated from her head.
“The physician mentioned (the victim) was lucky to be alive,” the statement said.
Stidham said the suspect had been driving the victim around, periodically assaulting her, for at least eight hours.
“If our officer hadn’t stopped, it would have been a lot worse, or even fatal,” he said.
Stidham said that officers were determined to get the suspect off the street, and teamed up with officials from the Salt Lake Metro Gang Unit and the Utah County Major Crimes Unit, working 14- to 15-hour days to track Peterson, who lives a transient lifestyle.
Officers spotted him Friday in Murray, traveling in a vehicle. They lost sight of it temporarily, but located it parked at a motel in the area of 4500 S. 500 West. The Murray Police Department supported the effort with extra officers, and Peterson was taken into custody.
“We’re all happy to have him off the street,” Stidham said.