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    2 teens arrested after abducted man found dead in Utah desert

    By Emily Mae Czachor,

    2024-03-21

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4MvUvh_0s0ANFMG00

    Two teenagers have been charged in the abduction and murder of a 21-year-old man, who was found dead from an apparent gunshot wound in rural Utah several days after he disappeared, authorities said. Alexia "Alex" Franco's body was discovered in a remote desert some 50 miles from the area where he was last seen stepping into a Jeep on Sunday afternoon, according to the Taylorsville Police Department.

    Taylorsville police have not released the names of either teenager accused in Franco's killing. But the department identified them as 15-year-old and 17-year-old boys in a statement announcing their arrests. The teenagers were booked into the Salt Lake Valley Detention Center on multiple felony homicide charges, CBS affiliate KUTV reported.

    Their arrests came one day after police detectives found Franco dead in an isolated and arid part of Lehi, a small city near Provo. Because he had been missing since the weekend, detectives were investigating Franco's disappearance as a possible abduction and searching for the white 2000s Jeep Liberty that ultimately led them to the suspects.

    Police said they were able to find the Jeep with the public's help after the discovery of Franco's body shifted their investigation from possible abduction to homicide. The car was located in Salt Lake County, where Franco's girlfriend, Alyssa Henry, told KUTV that "friends of friends" had picked him up on Sunday afternoon, seemingly with a plan to drive the couple to a park. Surveillance footage that showed a white 2000s Jeep Liberty parked outside of Henry's home in Taylorsville was circulated widely as police asked the community for tips as to its whereabouts.

    When Franco stepped into the Jeep on Sunday, Henry told police and KUTV reporters that she heard what sounded like a gunshot firing from inside the car. Then, the car drove away.

    "He didn't do anything," Henry told KUTV, recalling the moment. "All of them looked at me and then drove away, and I started chasing the car, and I got to the end of the street before someone found me and called the police."

    Henry said she was immediately concerned by the apparent gunshot and the Jeep's prompt exit, so she started to track Franco's cell phone after the car pulled away, according to KUTV.

    "It got to the end of the street before it just stopped tracking it," Henry said.

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