Riley and Breezy memorial service in Eureka 22

A poster stays pinned to a telephone pole before a memorial service for Riley Powell and Brelynne "Breezy" Otteson held Saturday, April 7, 2018, at the Tintic School District office building in Eureka. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Every year, communities are shaped by hundreds of stories. Here are a few of the most prominent crime stories to come out of Utah County in 2018:

5. Several homicides reported in Utah County

A former Lehi high school teacher reportedly shot and killed an American Fork woman while she decorated a Christmas tree with her boyfriend in Midvale in November. Family members said Lisa Vilate Williams, 26, was sweet, caring and generous who loved to save dying house plants.

An Orem high school student was shot and killed in October after police officers responded to reports of a family problem in Orem. Investigators said 17-year-old Jacob E. Albrethsen approached officers with a knife and was unaffected by a Taser.

Police say Marcos Rosales, 49, was shot several times after a homeowner went to his garage and found Rosales inside in October. A scuffle occurred in which the homeowner shot the man in the garage multiple times in the abdomen.

A Pleasant Grove man was reportedly shot and killed by his nephew in July. The 50-year-old man arrived at his brother’s house in Pleasant Grove holding a sledgehammer in one hand and a claw hammer in the other. Investigators said the nephew reportedly shot the man as he stood in the doorway of the home.

4. Countless arrests and charges for sexual assaults and sexual abuse

Dozens of people were arrested and charged with sexual assault and sexual abuse in 2018, including a Utah Valley University wrestler who reportedly raped a woman in June at the Bonanza Campout Music Festival.

A Pleasant Grove teacher, a Spanish Fork school counselor and a Spanish Fork school custodian were all charged with allegedly sexually abusing students. An assistant fire chief in Millard County was also charged in Provo for reportedly raping a co-worker multiple times.

The husband of a NuSkin co-founder was sentenced to one year in jail for sexual battery in February, and a Spanish Fork man was sentenced to 40 years in prison for sexually abusing four young girls for more than a decade.

3. Police identify fleeing suspect who reportedly caused fatal American Fork crash

An Orem man accepted a plea deal in November after causing the death of a American Fork man during a high-speed chase with police in July.

After fleeing from police, Trevor Pitcher, 21, crashed into the passenger side of a car driven by an older woman. She was seriously injured and her 88-year-old husband, Hal Gadd, sitting in the passenger seat died in the collision.

Pitcher was taken to the American Fork Hospital with minor injuries. Police noted he reportedly has a history of fleeing from officers.

2. Family visits site where Elizabeth Salgado’s body was found

After three years of searching, investigators reported the remains of Elizabeth Elena Laguna-Salgado, 26, were found in the Hobble Creek Canyon area in May.

She was last seen on April 16, 2015 walking home in the middle of the afternoon from class at the Nomen Global Language Center in downtown Provo. She had recently returned from an LDS mission and had been in Utah for 20 days before her disappearance.

Family members traveled from Mexico to visit the area and add roses, flower bouquets and pictures of their daughter before kneeling and praying together.

1. Eureka man reportedly killed two missing teens found dead in mine shaft

Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson, 17, and Riley Powell, 18, were last heard from on Dec. 29 while traveling together to Eureka, according to court documents. Their bodies were found almost three months later in an abandoned mine shaft.

Officers arrested Jerrod Baum, 41, and Morgan Henderson, 35, after Henderson told investigators that Baum killed the two teenagers. Baum was charged with multiple felony charges, including two counts of aggravated kidnapping and two charges of aggravated murder.

Powell and Otteson were dating, and family members said their relationship was one of the best things that had happened to each of them. Powell had a big heart and desire to help all those around him, and Otteson loved to try new things and didn’t take anything too seriously.

Ashley Stilson covers crime, courts and breaking news for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2556 or astilson@heraldextra.com.

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