|Baleigh Bagshaw (2018)|
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 3pm. Upon Baleigh’s return home, she called her mother at work to check-in with her. 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 (pictured below). Shaun 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 Shaun 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 Shaun that began when she was 14 years old. Baleigh had recently ended the relationship, and Shaun 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 Shaun.
The following day, on May 3rd, 2018, police located the people behind the social media account who sent the explicit photos. Two people were involved, who told police that they had created the social media account at Shaun’s request and then had given him the password. One of the associates told police that Shaun was obsessed with Baleigh and wanted to marry her. Police also contacted Shaun that day, and he became aware that he was likely to get in trouble for statutory rape.
From there, the situation escalated to murder. Shaun 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 Shaun off at Baleigh’s house on the 7th, and when Shaun 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. He allegedly told his friend, “I damn near cut her head off.” Police ultimately located Shaun and his male friend on May 11th, 2018 in Colorado. After that, the friend told police his version of events and led them to a dumpster where they had discarded Shaun’s knife and bloody clothes.
|Shaun French following his arrest|
UPDATE (July 2020): Shaun French has pleaded guilty to the murder of Baleigh Bagshaw. While in court, Shaun 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."
Shaun now faces a life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for August 25th.