Welfare check turns into homicide investigation after St. George man fails to show up for work

Officers secure scene at apartment complex on 300 East where body of Gary Hall was discovered deceased inside of his apartment, St. George, Utah, July 3, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Police are investigating a possible homicide that took place at an apartment complex in St. George after the manager of a restaurant contacted authorities to conduct a welfare check on an employee who failed to show up for his shift – a first for the veteran cook. St. George Police are seeking a suspect for questioning.

Officers respond to an apartment complex on 300 East where the body of Gary Hall was discovered deceased inside of his residence, St. George, Utah, July 3, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

On Friday evening, officers were dispatched to an apartment complex on 300 East to conduct a welfare check on Gary Hall after his employer contacted the St. George Police Department.

Hall worked his normal swing shift Thursday night and had not been seen since shortly after 11 p.m. when the restaurant closed.

Hall was a cook at the Denny’s located on 1000 East, where he has worked for more than 38 years. According to the manager, who preferred to be remain anonymous, Hall typically showed up for work an hour or so before his shift.

She said that Hall had never “gone missing” from his job and had an “impeccable” attendance record.

“As soon as I realized he wasn’t here,” the manager said, “I knew something was very wrong.”

At that point, she went to Hall’s apartment on 300 East, where she found the apartment door locked and noticed that his vehicle, a Honda passenger vehicle, was not in its usual parking spot. She told St. George News that when there was no answer at the front door, she contacted authorities.

Officers were able to open one of the back windows to peer into the unit, she said, and shortly after, they forced entry into the apartment through the front door “with their guns drawn.”

After making entry, the only thing officers told her at the time was that they found a man inside of the apartment who was deceased, but they did not provide any other information.

A number of detectives were then dispatched to the complex as officers taped off the apartment and secured the scene. The manager said that while speaking with detectives, she was told that the deceased man inside of the unit was in fact Hall.

“All they told me was the death appeared ‘suspicious’,” she said.

Joshua Anthony Huntsman, shown in this photo, is wanted in connection with the alleged murder of Gary Hall in St. George, Utah, photo date not specified | Submitted photo, St. George News

St. George News arrived at the apartment complex Friday evening to find the apartment taped off and several officers in front of the building. With detectives still arriving at the scene to conduct an investigation, no information was available at that time.

Shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday, St. George News received information that a suspect was being sought by police for “killing his roommate in St. George.” The information said the man may have driven off in the victim’s Honda, leaving his own vehicle at the apartment where the incident allegedly took place.

On Monday, St. George Police Lt. Rich Triplett said the incident is being investigated as a homicide and confirmed that the suspect, Joshua Huntsman, is being sought by police in connection with the case.

Triplett also said that detectives are requesting the public’s help in locating Huntsman. Anyone with information on the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to call the St. George Police Department’s Detective Division at 435-627-4338.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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