Enterprise man receives award for helping locate girls taken by cult members

Washington County resident Joseph Paul is presented with an Outstanding Citizen award certificate by  Iron County Sheriff’s Deputy Jobe Peterson, Enterprise, Utah, March 16, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff's Office, St. George News/Cedar City News

SOUTHERN UTAH — The Iron County Sheriff’s Office presented Washington County resident Joseph Paul with an Outstanding Citizenship award for his role in helping find four missing girls in December.

According to a written statement issued by the Sheriff’s Office Tuesday, the young girls were the subjects of an Amber Alert issued Dec. 4 in response to a suspected kidnapping involving a man identified as Samuel Shaffer.

Read more:  4 girls taken into Southern Utah cult found in ‘poor health’; 1 airlifted to Primary Children’s Hospital

“Paul set out from his home to see if he could be of assistance in locating the girls,” the statement said.

“While out looking in the area, Paul observed a male subject walking along the railroad frontage road near Lund. The subject matched the description of the male from the Amber Alert.”

After making a 911 phone call to the Cedar City Communications Center, Paul remained in the area and kept visual contact with the subject until Iron County Sheriff’s deputies were able to respond to the scene.

“Paul’s actions proved instrumental in the ensuing search by Iron County Sheriff’s deputies, which ultimately located the girls and led to the quick apprehension and arrest of the male, Samuel Shaffer,” the statement said.

Paul’s quick-thinking and intuition that night ultimately saved the lives of the four girls who had been kidnapped by Shaffer,” the statement said, adding that the children were found in “extremely poor health and physical condition.”

“The girls were being held captive in two separate locations, with neither location having any source of heat nor adequate clothing for the harsh elements,” the statement said, adding that the weather the night of Dec. 4 was “undoubtedly one of the coldest nights of the year with temperatures in the single digits and a bitterly cold wind chill.”

“It is without a doubt Paul provided Iron County Sheriff’s deputies with vital information for the successful recovery of the victims.”

In recognition of his actions, Paul was presented with a commendation certificate March 16 by  Iron County Sheriff’s Deputy Jobe Peterson.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.


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  • Carpe Diem March 27, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Thanks Paul! Awesome! Glad they recognized your work! You saved those girls!

  • PlanetU March 27, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Excellent job Joseph Paul! Thank God for you.

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