Saturday, January 13, 2024

The Murder of Baleigh Bagshaw

15-year-old Baleigh Bashaw was brutally murdered inside her own home May 7th, 2018. That day began as a typical day for the teenager; she went to school that morning and then returned to her Salt Lake City, Utah home around 3:00 PM. Upon Baleigh’s return home, she called her mother at work to check-in.

At some point during that phone conversation, Baleigh was attacked as her mother listened. Baleigh’s frantic mother then called a neighbor, who went to the home and found Baleigh dead. The attacker had already fled the scene.

Baleigh’s mother immediately had a gut feeling about the killer’s identity: 24-year-old Shaun French. French had lived in the home with Baleigh and her mother for six months during the previous year, until Baleigh’s mother kicked him out in July 2017. Baleigh and French still kept in touch after this, but Baleigh’s mother was unaware of the extent of their relationship until May 2nd, 2018—just 5 days before Baleigh was murdered.

That day, Baleigh confessed to her mother that she had been in a sexual relationship with French that began when she was 14 years old. Baleigh had recently ended the relationship, and French was not taking it well. It was clear at this point that French is a dangerous person. It was established that he had raped Baleigh, who was too young to consent to a sexual relationship. The events that followed proved exactly how dangerous French is - and it unfortunately cost Baleigh her life. 


May 2nd, 2018: Baleigh's admission and the social media harassment. 

As previously stated, 15-year-old Baleigh confessed to her mother that she had been in an inappropriate sexual relationship with French, who was nearly a decade older than her, on May 2nd, 2018. Baleigh also explained that French was threatening to send her nude photographs to her mother and to post them on social media. 

In fact, as Baleigh and her mother were having this conversation, Baleigh’s mother received a nude picture of her daughter from a social media account that she did not recognize. The mother and daughter then decided to contact police and to secure a restraining order against French.

May 3rd, 2018: police confirm French is behind the social media accounts. 

The following day, police located the people behind the social media account who sent the explicit photos. Two people were involved, and they told police that they had created the social media account at French’s request and then had given him the password. One of the associates told police that French was obsessed with Baleigh and wanted to marry her. 

Police also contacted French that day, and he became aware that he was likely to get in trouble for statutory rape. From there, the situation seemingly escalated to murder. 

May 6th - 7th, 2018.

French and a male friend spent the days of May 6th and 7th in a park near Baleigh’s home in Salt Lake City. The male friend would later tell police that he dropped French off at Baleigh’s house on the 7th. When French returned, he was covered in blood and said he had to leave the state because he had killed a girl while she was talking on the phone. 

French allegedly told his friend, “I damn near cut her head off.” Following this admission, both French and the friend fled the area.

May 11th, 2018: French is apprehended.

Police ultimately located French and his male friend on May 11th, 2018, in Colorado. It was then that the friend told police his version of events. He also led them to a dumpster where they had discarded French’s knife and bloody clothes.

French was subsequently arrested, extradited back to Utah, and charged with aggravated murder, obstruction of justice, and sexual exploitation. He was held behind bars without bail.

source: Otero County Sheriff's Office

A guilty plea and sentencing.

In July 2020, Shaun French has pleaded guilty to the murder of Baleigh Bagshaw. While in court, French said he agreed to plead guilty so he would not face the death penalty. He told the judge, "Your honor, to be honest, it’s either this or the death penalty. This is the only thing to do. Yeah. It's either this or die."

On August 25th, 2020, French was sentenced to life in prison. During the court proceeding, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill expressed that this sentencing is the outcome both Baleigh's family and society needed to move forward. Gill explained, "This was a very horrific, very terrible crime of the murder of a young woman who had her entire life to look forward to. While we will never be able to replace her, we’ll never be able to give that kind of measure of justice. But the family can move on knowing society is safe and this person will never ever be free and he is going to die in prison."

No comments:

Post a Comment