BOUNTIFUL, Utah, Feb. 9, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Davis County officials have filed felony charges against a Nevada man in connection with the August 2018 death of a Bountiful man.
Taniela Siale Popise Salakielu, 20, who was already in custody on parole-violation charges, now faces additional charges of murder, a first-degree felony; burglary, a second-degree felony; and theft, a second-degree felony.
Victim Rand Hatch, 50, is believed to have died on Aug. 11, 2019. His body was discovered on Aug. 19 by his brother, who reported not hearing from Hatch for more than a week, the probable cause statement says.
“The victim’s brother arrived that day and entered the home,” the statement said. “He found that the victim was deceased and had been dead a long period of time …”
An autopsy determined Hatch had died from blunt force trauma to the head, and had suffered skull fractures and a broken jaw, the statement says.
“Detectives located a jail identification document belonging to the defendant (Salakielu) at the scene of the victim’s death, as well as a jail booking slip for the defendant’s earlier arrest in August 2018. Detectives then began trying to locate the defendant.”
The victim’s brother told police that Hatch owned a 2007 Silver Infiniti, which was missing from the driveway. Bountiful police listed the car as stolen, and found it the next day, Aug. 20, abandoned in Sunset.
A Sunset resident had reported the car blocking his driveway on Aug. 17, and told police a male and female with a baby had been in the vehicle. The resident later confirmed that Salakielu looked similar to the man seen in the Infiniti.
On August 21, 2018, detectives interviewed a Sunset woman who had a close relationship with Salakielu, and she told police he had driven the Infiniti to her residence, then left it on the street and taken her vehicle.
Later that day, detectives located Salakielu and took him in for questioning.
“The defendant admitted to having the vehicle, and knowing the victim,” the statement says. “The suspect stated he and the witness were at the victim’s home. The suspect admitted to getting into a verbal altercation with the victim (Hatch), but denied that any physical altercation had taken place.”
The female witness, after multiple interviews, told detectives “there had been a physical altercation between the defendant and the victim,” the statement says. “She stated that she and the defendant had previously spent time at the victim’s residence earlier in August 2018, but that the victim had kicked them out of the home.”
Salakielu later returned to Hatch’s residence, the witness said, and entered through a window, letting her in through the front door.
“She stated that she saw the defendant inside the victim’s home, and that she saw the suspect hit the victim,” the statement says. “She heard the victim moaning and she stated that she then left the house.”
The witness said that a short time later, Salakielu left the house. She later admitted to police that she and Salakielu left the area in Hatch’s vehicle, the statement says.
Hatch was last heard from on Aug. 10, and failed to show up for work appointment on Aug. 11 of 2018, the statement says.
Hatch’s phone was later used in the Sunset/Clinton area, the statement said. It has not been found.
Salakielu is being held without bail. He has an initial court date scheduled for Monday.