CEDAR CITY – A manhunt for a suspect wanted in connection with allegedly kidnapping a woman and her four daughters out of Centerville ended this weekend with that suspect, his father and his mother all behind bars.
Multiple agencies had been looking for Dereck James “DJ” Harrison and his father, Flint Harrison, since May 10 after the father and son duo allegedly kidnapped and assaulted a mother and her four teenage daughters. The girls range in age from 13 to 18 years old.
Flint Harrison, 51, surrendered before his son did early Saturday morning near Pinedale, Wyoming. DJ turned himself in Saturday night after he said he saw a helicopter overhead.
Court records show Flint and MaryAnn Harrison. DJ’s mother, divorced in 2003. The two shared custody of their son.
MaryAnn Harrison, 45, went to Pinedale Saturday night with $10,000 cash she withdrew prior to leaving Centerville where she had been staying with family over the past week.
Her residence is listed in Cedar City on Beacon Drive located off State Route 56, Centerville Police Lt. Von Steenblik said to Cedar City News during an interview last week.
Fox 13 News reported talking with MaryAnn Harrison over the phone where she told reporters she was headed to the scene to try to talk her son into surrendering peacefully. However, police arrested her that night for parole violation.
The mother of the suspect told authorities she brought the money to help her son bail out if he was arrested or to pay an attorney for him. However, MaryAnn Harrison is on parole and isn’t allowed to leave the state.
MaryAnn Harrison traveled to Wyoming with DJ’s grandmother, who police escorted back to Utah.
Police were concerned MaryAnn might help her son evade capture. A warrant was issued in Utah for her arrest after it was determined she broke the terms of her parole. She had ignored her parole officer’s warning not to leave the state, Steenblik said.
MaryAnn’s parole violation stems from a 2011 conviction on six third-degree felonies including four counts of unlawful possession of a credit card and two counts of forgery. The charges were for three separate incidents in 2010 involving vehicle burglary and use of stolen credit cards and checks where she allegedly forged the victim’s name.
MaryAnn Harrison was sentenced to 0-to-5 years with credit for 127 days already served.
Police said the current case facing the Harrison men emerged from paranoia. The Harrisons had been using methamphetamine heavily when they lured the woman and her daughters to a home and beat them with a baseball bat, police said. The Harrisons falsely suspected the mother had reported them to authorities, Steenblik said.
The younger Harrison was a close friend of the woman’s family, often visiting their home for dinner or picking the girls up from school. The teens thought of him like a stepbrother, Steenblik said.
Flint Harrison lives in Wyoming but was visiting his son when they invited the victim and her children to a barbecue.
Law enforcement sources said DJ Harrison tried renting an apartment in Cedar City the day before the incident in Centerville but was denied because he was unable to produce a social security card.
The women thought it was a strange joke when the Harrisons tied them up with zip ties but began to break free when the father hit the mother with the bat, according to charging documents.
In the struggle that followed, one girl slapped away a shotgun pointed at her throat and another grabbed the bat and hit the son, police said. All five ran from the house and one of the girls called police.
Her voice was so panicked on a recording of the 911 call released Monday that it was at first unintelligible.
“They had a gun, they tied us up in the basement!” she screamed. “My mom’s eye is bleeding … It’s bad. It’s really bad.”
The Harrison men left the home before officers arrived Tuesday. They got a ride to Salt Lake City, where they stayed at a hotel and then with a friend nearby. They made their way 250 miles north to Wyoming, perhaps getting another ride from someone else, police said.
Flint and DJ Harrison had a makeshift campsite at the base of the rugged Wyoming mountains. The pair had holed up in sleeping bags for the last day or two in a forest where temperatures dip into the 20s at night and nearby peaks are still snowy, authorities said. They had about a day’s worth of food and water.
In a bizarre twist after days of both the father and son on the run from police, Flint Harrison surrendered because he said he grew concerned about the behavior of his armed son and helped police track the 22-year-old to their remote hideout.
From a search helicopter, Flint Harrison pointed police to their remote camp, but DJ Harrison was already gone. Authorities evacuated several nearby campsites as the suspect hid among the trees and brush.
Police picked up the younger Harrison on Saturday night after he was spotted walking down a road north of the city of Pinedale, Sublette County sheriff’s Sgt. Katherine Peterson said. He wore only a light jacket in the cold and was not armed. He surrendered without incident.
Police are looking for weapons and investigating comments made by Flint Harrison that his son had high-powered rifles and hunting weapons in his possession.
According to a Facebook post by the Centerville Police Department, both Flint and DJ Harrison had an extradition court hearing Monday to determine whether they would be sent back to Utah where they both face 16 counts including kidnapping and drug possession. The men chose not to waive extradition at this time but will remain in the Sublette County Jail for now. The court will provide an attorney, requested by both father and son, prior to the court proceedings for extradition.
Flint and DJ Harrison have a $750,000 bail.
Fox 13 in Salt Lake City reported MaryAnn Harrison also had an extradition hearing Monday. She appeared in court, waived the extradition process and will return to Utah within 10 business days.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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