Dereck James Harrison posted a cryptic message on Facebook the day before police say he and his father tied up and assaulted a mother and her four teenage daughters.
“What good is a man who has destroyed not only his image, but his pride,” Harrison wrote. “Self worth is sure to follow and then who is he but a shell of his once former self or was it all a delusion and a shell is all he has ever been?”
The next day, Dereck, known as DJ, and his father, Flint Wayne Harrison, allegedly invited a family friend and her daughters over to a Centerville, Utah, home for a barbecue. Once they got there, though, police say the men forced the females into the basement, tied them up, and threatened them with a gun. When the women managed to escape, DJ and Flint led police on a four-day manhunt that only ended in Wyoming on Saturday night, when the elder Harrison turned himself in and helped police apprehend his 22-year-old son.
The Harrisons took the mother, who has not been named by police, and her daughters to a home owned by DJ’s grandmother in Centerville, about 20 minutes outside Salt Lake City. Police said the men were prepared to abduct all five females.
“They’ve got the baseball bat and they’ve got a shotgun. They’ve got zip ties and duct tape that’s all set up and ready to go—duct tape torn to strips, and zip ties that are zipped together—and they start zip-tying hands and feet,” Centerville Police Lt. Von Steenblik told local news station KSL.
The elder Harrison then used a baseball bat to subdue them, according to Von Steenblik, before they duct-taped the mom’s mouth shut. The daughters were forced to their knees and their wrists and feet were bound. They also put a bag over the mom’s face.
The daughters then managed to slip loose of their restraints. One of the girls—aged 13, 15, 17 and 18—even slapped away a gun pointed at her throat. The 17-year-old hit DJ with the bat, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune.
Flint Harrison had been charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in 1998, according to KSL. That conviction was reversed but he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted forcible sexual abuse, and spent 10 years on the sex offender registry.
Police initially said they thought the attack may have been intended as retaliation against the mother, and said they found what looked like methamphetamine at the scene.
“The accusation that DJ had made against the mother was that she had ratted them out in someway. And we believe that is DJ’s perceived paranoia, because the victim is telling us she didn’t do anything. There’s nothing there. And we don’t believe she did anything,” Steenblik said.
Similarly, DJ’s mother blamed drugs.
“This isn’t my son. This is the methamphetamines,” MaryAnn Harrison, DJ’s mother, told KSL. “I love those girls so much.”
The men were believed to have fled to Wyoming, where early Saturday the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office warned citizens to stay away from a wooded area. When Flint turned himself in shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday, he immediately “began working with local investigators to locate his son.”
Police then suspended their search for Saturday night, after finding a makeshift campground believed to belong to DJ. He was believed to have made threats towards law enforcement and to be armed with knives and two rifles, and high-capacity magazines.
But shortly after, they apprehended him, as he walked toward deputies at a roadblock.
“This is an incredible end to a very stressful day,” Sheriff Stephen Haskell said. “We have incredibly skilled officers in our area and it was a very good end to something that could have gone very badly.”
The father and son are facing assault, gun, and drug charges.