Police: DNA breaks case in assault of 71-year-old Centerville woman attacked at LDS chapel

Centerville police have arrested a juvenile after a November 2018 attack on a woman practicing the organ at an LDS Church at 270 N. 300 East, Centerville. Photo: Google Earth

CENTERVILLE, Utah, April 24, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A Centerville teen has been arrested five months after an attack on a 71-year-old woman playing the organ in a locked meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The assault happened on Nov. 17, 2018 at the church, at 270 N. 300 East, in Centerville, a statement from the Centerville Police Department says.

“A 71-year-old female was practicing the organ while alone in the chapel with all the doors locked,” the police statement says. “The woman was suddenly attacked from behind while playing the organ and was strangulated into unconsciousness multiple times.

“Detectives collected DNA evidence at the scene that was left behind by the intruder, who gained access into the building by breaking a window. Centerville detectives have been working diligently on this case since it occurred and developed a person of interest.”

Detectives collected DNA evidence left behind on objects discarded by the person of interest, and sent the DNA to the state lab for processing, the Centerville Police statement says.

“This investigation took several months, but it remained a priority for us. We were able to match the DNA left behind at the scene to the person arrested today.”

The arrestee is a 17-year-old male who lives in Centerville, and was arrested in Kaysville, the statement says. His name is not being released due to his juvenile status.

He was booked into the Farmington Bay Juvenile Detention Center on suspicion of aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony; and aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, the Centerville Police statement says.

“We have informed the victim of this incident of the arrest, and she expressed relief. The person arrested is a juvenile, and therefore we will not be releasing his name at this time. There is no known relationship between the person arrested and the victim.”


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