2018 file photo of a Washington County Sheriff’s Office vehicle, St. George, Utah, Jan. 30, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
ST. GEORGE — A family in Apple Valley awoke early Monday morning to a stranger at the door asking for water, which set in motion a series of events that led Washington County Sheriff’s deputies to arrest a man for aggravated assault, after wading through conflicting accounts between an estranged couple that became stranded out in the desert.
On Monday a family in Apple Valley called dispatch reporting that a man knocked on their door shortly after 5 a.m. asking for water and saying that he and his wife were stranded in the desert, according to charging documents filed with the court.
Washington County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area to follow up on the report. They located a broken down vehicle near the white rocks in Apple Valley, and in the back of the truck they found a woman sleeping.
The woman told deputies that she and her estranged husband, later identified as 51-year-old Sheldon Young, had gone to get drinks when he took her into the Apple Valley area.
She also told police that during the drive, she was corresponding with her new boyfriend using a tablet that belonged to him, but when Young found out, she said, the suspect pulled over and the two began fighting over the tablet. The woman then said she told Young to take her home, telling him the tablet was equipped with GPS, which her boyfriend would likely use to locate her.
As the pair continued fighting over the tablet, the woman said it slipped from her hands and went out of the vehicle door, falling to the ground.
Police say both jumped from the vehicle. Young grabbed the tablet and threw it to the ground, stomping on it and destroying it. She said he also threw her cell phone on the ground, destroying it as well, the report adds.
As the woman attempted to get back into the pickup, she said the suspect picked her up and shoved her head first into the cab of the truck, police say.
When deputies spoke to Young, he gave a different account of the events, saying it was the woman who struck him in the back of the head multiple times and also kicked him in the stomach. He said he got back into the truck and began driving, while the woman remained in the back of the pickup and grabbed a shovel, beating the bed and the sides of the pickup with it.
Young told police the woman then struck the back window of the pickup, smashing the glass, and throwing the shovel at the suspect.
Young also said he picked up the shovel and “tossed it back in the truck where it hit her in the head,” the deputy noted in the report.
The woman told deputies that she tossed the shovel out of the truck. Young grabbed it. She asked the suspect if he was going to kill her, then the suspect struck her in the head with the shovel.
She went on to explain she became angry and grabbed an axe which she used to smash through the rear window of the pickup.
Young was arrested for one third-degree felony count of aggravated assault. The suspect also faces misdemeanor criminal mischief and possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.
Young was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility for booking.
Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained.
This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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