Man arrested after posing as middle school, high school student in Moab

File photo: Gephardt Daily

MOAB, Utah, Oct. 15, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A man was arrested after posing as both a middle school and a high school student in Moab this week.

A Facebook post from the Grand County School District Thursday said: “The purpose of this message is to inform you that a 19-year-old male attempted to pose as a student at both the middle school and high school this week. He attempted to register himself as a 15-year-old student to attend Grand County schools. The police were called and the suspect is now in custody.

“We appreciate our partnership with the Moab City Police Department and their efforts to help us ensure the safety of our students.”

On Friday, a letter was sent to staff, parents and community members.

The letter says: “On Tuesday, Oct. 12, the young man who is 19, but could easily pass as 14, entered the Grand County High School before school started when the front doors were unlocked and entered the library. He mingled there with other students and left through the front doors before school started.”

Then, at 8:35 a.m., he re-entered the high school office with two other students. The attendance secretary didn’t recognize him and asked him if he was a GCHS student. He said he was. She asked his name and he gave it. At that point one of the other students said that he wasn’t a student at GCHS, the letter says.

“The high school counselor spoke to the young man and the young man left GCHS,” the letter says. “After he left the high school he walked to the Margaret L. Hopkin Middle School and was playing on the playground equipment. A staff member saw him and escorted him to the office. In the office he said he was hungry and the office staff fed him. The young man said he was 14 and would like to go to school there. The office staff thought he was a high school student so they called the high school and were told what had happened there earlier. The middle school principal then called the police and the police indicated they knew who the young man was.”

On Wednesday, Oct. 13, in the afternoon, the man saw a PE class outside running on the track and started running with them. The letter does not say which school this occurred at. The PE teacher told him he couldn’t stay with the class and asked him to leave; the man left. Next, that same afternoon, the man entered the high school with some other students before 6th hour, the last class of the day and went with them to one of their classes, the news release said. The teacher thought he was a new student.

“He stayed through that class and exited the high school at the end of school with the other students,” the statement said. “The young man did not threaten any students during his visits to either school, however, he did follow two sisters home and threatened them at their home. No information came to either the high school or district administration about the young man’s time on the high school campus on Wednesday, or the threats made to the two sisters until Thursday morning, Oct. 14.”

When district administration received the information, the Superintendent immediately contacted law enforcement. Law enforcement verified that the man had allegedly threatened the sisters at their home.

“Obviously GCSD administration is concerned that a student was able to attend a high school class posing as a GCHS student,” the letter says. “A GCHS staff meeting was held this morning, Friday the 15th, before school to determine what went wrong and what needs to be done to ensure a similar situation doesn’t happen again. The GCHS leadership team and accreditation committees are identifying all processes and procedures that were lacking, changing them where appropriate, and then training all staff to ensure knowledge and compliance. GCSD administration and staff will use this unfortunate situation to improve and be better, and ensure that nothing like this happens again.”

For the full letter, click here.


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