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Police still looking for kidnapping suspects; abandoned vehicle found

(Centerville Police Department)


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CENTERVILLE — Police were searching Wednesday for a father and son charged with luring a Clinton mother and her four teenage daughters into a Centerville home where they were held at gunpoint and beaten.

The wife of one of the suspects said he intends to "shoot any officers and go out in a blaze of glory" rather than return to prison, an arrest affidavit states.

Police say it was a chaotic scene Tuesday for the mother and daughters who fought the two men who had lured them into a basement and tied them up.

Dereck James "DJ" Harrison, 22, of Centerville, and his father, Flint Wayne Harrison, 51, of Wyoming, invited the woman and her teenage daughters to a home in Centerville for a barbecue, Centerville Police Lt. Von Steenblik said.

But the barbecue "was just a ruse to get them to the house," Steenblik said.

When the girls — ages 13, 15, 17 and 18 — arrived at the house, 190 N. 700 East, the men invited them to look at something in the basement.

"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," he said.

DJ Harrison pointed the shotgun at the women and ordered them to get on the ground, but they "did not take him seriously at first and went back upstairs," the affidavit states.

Flint Harrison, armed with a baseball bat, then jabbed the girls and forced them back downstairs, ordering them to get on their knees, according to the affidavit.

The men then sat the mother down separate from her daughters, put duct tape over the woman's mouth and a bag over her head, police said.

"They're all in this room. They sit mom down, and there's some conversation about, 'We're going to get to the bottom of what you did,' and then they start to assault her. That's when the girls kind of freak out because their mom is being assaulted and they start to break loose. Then the two suspects are trying to contain the girls and the mom, and it goes to chaos," Steenblik said.

The girls either broke the ties or their hands were small enough to slip through them. As the two men tried to contain the females who were scattering, the lieutenant said the men pointed a shotgun at the girls and women and threatened to shoot them but didn't, even though the girls ignored their commands to stop.

"The girls just didn't listen to them. They're like, 'We're out of here,'" Steenblik said.

One of the girls even "slapped the gun away" when it was pointed at her throat, the affidavit states.

Some of the girls ran to the garage but couldn't get the door open, so they ran out a back door, he said. One of the girls called 911 as she was fleeing. That was about 6 p.m.

When the men realized their plan wasn't going as planned, Steenblik said, they got in their vehicle and drove off.

"We probably missed them by less than a minute," he said.

Several of the girls were hit with a baseball bat while trying to escape, according to police. The mother and one daughter were taken to a local hospital.

Steenblik said the mother suffered the most severe injuries. She was hit in the head and chest with a baseball bat and punched in the stomach. Detectives still had not been able to interview her by late Wednesday afternoon. The daughter's injuries were described as minor.

Steenblik said there were still many unanswered questions Wednesday, including an exact motive and what the relationship is between the mother and DJ Harrison. But the incident appears to stem from a conflict between those two.

"The motive appears to be retaliation on the mother. The exact reason is still under investigation," he said.

The mother and her children know the younger Harrison, according to Steenblik, but police didn't know how they had met or how long they have known each other. He said there is also an "indication of drug use on the suspect's part."

A search warrant was served at the Centerville home, where police found evidence such as blood, "a chunk of hair," zip ties, duct tape, a shotgun and what appeared to be a baggie of methamphetamine, the arrest affidavit states.

Police said family members confirmed that the father and son "had been heavily using drugs in the last few days."

Flint Harrison's wife, who lives with him in Wyoming, "informed the police that her husband did not want to go back to prison and had made (a) statement that he intended to shoot any officers and go out in a blaze of glory," the affidavit states.

"Family members stated that they may be hiding in the mountains because they have the gear to go deep and hide," police wrote.

The Centerville house is owned by Dereck Harrison's grandmother, who lives in Bountiful, Steenblik said. She was not present Tuesday. Investigators say she has not been cooperative with detectives in locating her grandson.

U.S. marshals could be seen at the woman's Bountiful home Wednesday evening.

Marlene Brown later spoke to KSL and begged her grandson to turn himself in. She said the incident is unlike him.

"DJ is really a great kid," she said. "He's very helpful, loving and kind. And one day of meth can ruin his whole life."

Brown said she doesn't believe her grandson had been using meth for an extended period of time.

She told KSL if she could give DJ and his father one message it would be to go to the police.

"Walk into a police station and come clean. We want you both home," she said.

Investigators there were interviewing DJ Harrison's mother, who is estranged from Clint Harrison.

A no-bail arrest warrant was issued for the Harrisons, charging them with five counts each of aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony.

The father and son are also charged with five counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony; possession of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony; possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor; possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor; and three counts of damaging a communication device, a class B misdemeanor.

The two were last seen driving a 2011 silver Chevrolet Suburban with Wyoming license plate AR83G. That vehicle was found abandoned in Farmington on Wednesday afternoon.

Flint Harrison was charged in 1998 with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl at a party, according to state court records. He appealed his conviction, however, which was overturned by the Utah Supreme Court in 2001. During a retrial, Harrison pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted forcible sexual abuse. He was sentenced to nine months in jail and placed on the Utah Sex Offender Registry for 10 years.

Steenblik said a helicopter was set to search the foothills in southern Davis County on Wednesday night, but that it was also possible the father and son had fled to Salt Lake City.

Anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to contact police by calling a specially designated tip line at 801-335-8844.

Contributing: Ladd Egan, Ashley Moser, Ben Lockhart, Dave Cawley, Brittany Copeland

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Pat Reavy

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