Fatal homemade bomb explosion in New Harmony an ‘isolated incident,’ police say

Jordan Joseph Rinehart, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff's Office via Facebook, St. George News

NEW HARMONY — Investigators believe the homemade explosive device that killed a man inside a residential garage in New Harmony was an “isolated incident,” and not part of a larger plot.

On the evening of Nov. 9, police and medical personnel responded to a 911 call reporting a traumatic injury at a residence on the 400 North block of Harmony Drive in New Harmony. Responders arrived to find Jordan Joseph Rinehart, 25, dead at the scene.

Based on evidence at the scene and statements made by an eyewitness, Rinehart is believed to have died when an improvised explosive device he had been making went off while he was in close proximity to it, according to police.

No one else was injured in the blast, including the eyewitness, who was reportedly nearby when it happened.

Investigators say there does not appear to be any indication that the device was part of a terrorist plot or that any particular individual or organization was being targeted.

“Our investigation has found no evidence indicating it was more than an isolated incident,” Lt. David Crouse of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office told St. George News Monday. “Subsequently, we have found no evidence linking other parties to the manufacture of the device. Based on the statements we collected, the homeowners were not aware the device was being constructed.”

Utah court records show that Rinehart pleaded guilty in 5th District Court in August to one misdemeanor count of possession or use of a controlled substance, along with one count of knowingly producing, dispensing or manufacturing a controlled substance, a second-degree felony. Later in August, he pleaded not guilty to two additional misdemeanor drug-related offenses in Iron County; both of those charges were dismissed without prejudice approximately a week after Rinehart’s death.

Crouse said officers from the Washington County Drug Task Force executed a narcotics search warrant on Nov. 14 at the same residence, based upon probable cause stemming from an unrelated investigation.

St. George Police public information officer Tiffany Atkin confirmed Tuesday that such a warrant was issued but said that the task force declined to divulge any further information other than that it was “a completely different incident and it was not related to the death.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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