Flint Wayne Harrison and Dereck James “DJ” Harrison, a father and son who ran away from police after allegedly tying up and assaulting five women, are now accused of having abducted and killed Kay Porter Ricks, a rail line worker. The 63-year-old was beaten so brutally that he was unidentifiable when his body was discovered in Wyoming. The Harrisons have been charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder.
As The New York Daily Newsreports, Ricks was kidnapped May 12 during his shift of manning the Salt Lake’s City’s light rail system. The men had allegedly abducted him while they were hiding from police after holding a mother and her four teenage daughters captive on May 10. Both men, who were under the influence of drugs, wrongly held the woman responsible for turning them over to authorities.
The Harrisons had lured the women to their home and held them captive in a Utah basement. They were bound with zip ties, and the mother was battered with a baseball bat as she fought to protect her daughters. Her assailants had duct-taped her mouth and put a bag over her head. One of the girls escaped and alerted authorities from a neighbor’s home. The men escaped, ditching their car and hitching a ride to Salt Lake City and spending the night at a hotel before making their way to Wyoming backwater country south of Yellowstone National Park, according to The New York Daily News. Police said the abduction was a “premeditated event,” and the younger Harrison was a friend of the woman’s family.
The men, trying to elude the massive manhunt, had kidnapped Ricks and driven his work truck for 250 miles north to a secluded hideout in Wyoming. They killed him along the way. Flint Harrison surrendered to police May 14 in Pinedale, an area where he had a makeshift home. The 51-year-old revealed to law enforcement officials that his 22-year-old son was hiding at a nearby campsite. He warned the officers that his son was armed and ready to engage in a gunfight.
Special Agent Mike Carlson of the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, in documents filed Tuesday, wrote, “F. Harrison told the investigator that D. Harrison was a ‘killer’ and he had killed people in the past and how D. Harrison would steal a vehicle to get away.”
Dereck Harrison was spotted as he walked towards a roadblock and taken into custody.
Carlson described the blows that killed Ricks as “severe crushing facial injuries due to beating.” An autopsy also revealed that the 63-year-old had deep cuts on his neck and defensive wounds on one hand and his forearms. The murder weapon, a bloody utility knife, was found next to his body.
Ricks was a well-liked handyman who helped neighbors fix their ceiling fans and lights during his spare time. He was an electrician before joining the UTA in 2010. His brother-in-law, Richard Massey, described him as a good man. He said that on that fateful day, Ricks turned his truck around just because he forgot to kiss his wife of 42 years goodbye for the day. Ricks was a stickler for organization and built his life around set routines; only his wife and six grandchildren could knock him off his stride.
The Utah Transit Authority briefly halted all their buses and trains during Rick’s funeral. Flags were flown at half-staff on UTA properties, and vehicles moved with their headlights on. Statements were also read by operators to honor the diligent and devoted maintenance rail worker and grandfather, according to The New York Daily News.
Flint Wayne Harrison and Dereck Harrison could face the death penalty if they are convicted.
[Image courtesy of Centerville Police]