A Utah man who left a woman stranded in the desert to die has been released to the AP&P while the case is still under investigation.
Stranded after a fight
52 year old Cody Alexander Young and 64 year old Jan Pearson Jenkins were camping near Silver City, Utah when they got into an argument, causing Young to leave Jenkins in the desert while he drove off in his van. The two, who were said to have been involved in a relationship and were possibly partaking of illegal drugs together, had been fighting on an off during the trip when Young decided to leave alone. After alerting Jenkin’s brother that she was out in the desert without a vehicle, Young continued on his way, leaving Jenkins to fend for herself near a ghost town where nighttime lows were expected to dip into the lower 40’s. Following an extensive search and no more contact from Young, Jenkins body was discovered over a week later.
Knowingly created a grave risk of death
Following the discovery of Jenkin’s body, police put out a BOLO on young, the last person to see Jenkins alive. Young was located living in his van near Yuba Lake and arrested for murder. Although the final autopsy has not been completed yet, there has not been any information released stating that Jenkin’s death was the result of any type of assault from Young. It appears that Young was charged with murder due solely to the fact that he left her stranded in the desert to die from exposure. Utah Code 76-5-203 defines the many elements of murder as when someone:
• “. . . intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another;
• Intending to cause serious bodily injury to another, the actor commits an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of another;
• The actor is engaged in the commission . . . of any predicate offense . . . ;
• A person other than a party . . . is killed in the course of the commission . . . of any predicate offense;
• . . . The actor recklessly causes the death a peace officer or military service member in uniform while in the commission or attempted commission or . . . and assault against a peace officer [or during] interference with a peace officer while making a lawful arrest . . . ;
• [or in Young’s case] Acting under circumstances evidencing a depraved indifference to human life, the actor knowingly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another and thereby causes the death of another”.
Young may have not intended to cause serious bodily injury or death to Jenkins but by leaving her in the desert exposed to the elements, he put her in a position that could cause death. Perhaps his reaching out to Jenkin’s brother however was a way for him to ensure Jenkins would be brought home safely. Unfortunately during the following search for Jenkins, Young failed to reach out and provide any more information that could have led to the rescue of the Utah woman instead of the recovery of her body. Why Young chose to stay silent has yet to be determined. Although arrested for murder, since Young was not seen as a danger to others in the community, he was released to the Adult Probation and Parole where he is required to remain in Utah while the investigation into the death of Jenkins continues. For more information on dealing with unintentional murder or other criminal charges in Utah, contact a reputable attorney.