Sandy homeless shelter resident jailed on suspicion of killing roommate

A resident of a homeless shelter in Sandy has been jailed on suspicion of murder in the death of a roommate.

A resident of a homeless shelter in Sandy has been jailed on suspicion of murder in the death of a roommate. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

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SANDY — A resident of a homeless shelter in Sandy has been jailed on suspicion of murder in the death of a roommate at the Medically Vulnerable People Program Facility.

Laura Northrup, 60, was being held as of Monday morning at the Salt Lake County Jail on suspicion of murder and tampering with evidence in the death early Sunday of Stephanie Lynne Hackett Carrasco, 62, according to a probable cause affidavit in the case.

Hackett Carrasco had arrived at the room she shares with Northrup and a third woman at the Sandy shelter around 12:41 a.m. on Sunday, according to the affidavit, which cites video footage. She reentered the room at 1:02 a.m. and Northrup was seen on video leaving the room at 1:57 a.m. "with her arms full of what appears to be clothing and other personal items," according to the affidavit prepared by the Sandy Police Department.

Hackett Carrasco's body wasn't discovered until later Sunday afternoon, after a third roommate, who had arrived around noon Sunday, discovered her body following a nap.

The third roommate "entered the room at approximately (noon) today when she said she took a nap and did not see Stephanie until she woke up," reads the affidavit, written Sunday. The third roommate "said that Stephanie was face down and mostly underneath her own bed. (The roommate) then called for (emergency medical services)."

Later Sunday, Northrup returned to the facility, but didn't talk to authorities. Police found blood between the beds of Northrup and Hackett Carrasco and on the frame of the main door into their room. "Spots of blood were also found on a red fanny pack-style bag that Laura was holding when she returned to the room," according to the affidavit.

The Medically Vulnerable People Program Facility at 8955 S. 255 West in Sandy, formerly an Econolodge motel, provides housing and medical care "to seniors, veterans and the medically frail who are experiencing homelessness," according to a description on the website of Shelter the Homeless, an advocacy group for homeless people.

Michelle Flynn, executive director of The Road Home, which helps operate the Sandy program, lamented Sunday's events, saying "our hearts are with those involved." Representatives from the Medically Vulnerable People Program are offering assistance to residents and staff members in the aftermath of the incident and cooperating with police, she said in a statement Monday.

"We are unwavering in our commitment to safety, ensuring a welcoming and secure environment for all those who seek refuge with us. We are working closely with law enforcement and other crisis services to support residents and staff," Flynn said.

The Sandy facility, relatively new, received the green light from Sandy officials last October to occupy the site.

According to Shelter the Homeless data, the facility — operated by The Road Home and Fourth Street Clinic, which also aid the homeless — can house up to 165 people. "The MVP program provides a safe and supportive environment where residents can rehabilitate from illness by accessing the necessary health care and care management services to find stability to move toward permanent housing and other long-term care solutions," Flynn said.

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Tim Vandenack covers immigration, multicultural issues and Northern Utah for He worked several years for the Standard-Examiner in Ogden and has lived and reported in Mexico, Chile and along the U.S.-Mexico border.


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