Police: Man "obsessed" with Utah girl slashed her throat

Baleigh Bagshaw 

Salt Lake City Police Department

SALT LAKE CITY -- A 24-year-old man has been charged with aggravated murder in the death of a 15-year-old Salt Lake City girl who police say he was obsessed with and wanted to marry. Charging documents filed Friday say Shaun French acknowledged to a friend that he had killed Baleigh Bagshaw at her home May 7 by cutting her throat. 

According to court documents obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune, French allegedly said to a friend, "I damn near cut her head off."

Bagshaw's mother says her daughter told her a week before her death that she had been in a sexual relationship with French, who lived at their house for six months in 2017. After French sent the mother sexually explicit pictures of Bagshaw, they considered seeking a restraining order. It wasn't known if they actually sought or obtained one.

shaun-french.jpg

Shaun French

CBS Denver

Citing the court documents, the Tribune reports French called Bagshaw repeatedly in the days before she was killed and met with her on the day of the murder about accusations he had raped her. A friend who was with French that day said he dropped him off at Bagshaw's house, and when French returned, he had blood on his face and hands and said he had cut the girl's throat.

Police Sgt. Brandan Shearer called it a brutal killing that Bagshaw's mother overheard while talking on the phone to her daughter, shortly after she had returned home from high school.

"While she was on the phone she heard screaming at which time, once that call ended, she contacted a neighbor who went to the house and immediately contacted the police," Shearer said.

Another friend told police French was "obsessed" with Bagshaw and said he wanted to marry her, the paper reports.

French reportedly told the friend they had to leave town and they fled, sparking a multi-state manhunt. The paper reports they first drove to Evanston, Wyoming, where French allegedly dumped a backpack full of bloody clothing in a convenience store trash can. Investigators scoured a nearby landfill and uncovered the backpack with the bloody clothes, a balaclava, duct tape, rubber gloves, latex gloves and a knife, the paper reports.

French was arrested in Colorado two days after Bagshaw was killed.

Bagshaw is being held without bail. No attorney is listed for him in court records. In addition to the aggravated murder charge, he's also facing counts of aggravated burglary, obstruction of justice and sexual exploitation.