Utah Mom Shot Her Son & Drove Around With His Body: Cops

Valerie Peck

Uintah County Sheriff\'s Office Valerie Peck

Valerie Peck, 40, was arrested and charged with murder and child abuse after police said she shot and killed her two-year-old son in Uintah County, on the east side of Utah, before driving around for hours with his body in the car. The Uintah County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release that on December 14, Peck killed her son Zack and then shot herself, suffering “serious” injuries.

Authorities have not yet provided a motive for the murder but said the investigation is ongoing. The press release stated: “The sheriff’s office extends its most sincere condolences to all who knew and loved Zack.”

After she was treated for her injuries, Peck was released from the hospital on December 15 and taken into police custody. She is now being held in the Uintah County Jail on aggravated murder and child abuse charges.

The Investigation Revealed That Peck Had Driven Around the Area With Her Son Before & After She Killed Him

Fantasy Canyon

Utah.govFantasy Canyon

The sheriff’s office first shared that they responded to a report of a shooting near Fantasy Canyon in central Uintah County on December 14 at 2:25 p.m. The initial press release stated that deputies found the woman “just west of state Road 45 on the Glen Bench Road” and that the boy was dead when they arrived. “The woman, who deputies identified as the boy’s mother, received medical treatment on scene before being taken to a hospital due to the seriousness of her injuries,” authorities said.

In the subsequent press release, the sheriff’s office said their investigation revealed that Peck and her son Zack went for a drive earlier on December 14 to the Dry Fork Canyon area. The two spent some time at a camping area before Zack was killed, authorities said. “After spending some time in the area, Peck put her son back in the vehicle and shot him with a .22-caliber rifle. Peck then shot herself,” the press release indicated.

Peck then drove around the area for a few more hours before she was eventually found by sheriff’s deputies.

A Police Affidavit Indicates That Peck Shot Herself Twice in an Attempt to Kill Herself

A police affidavit states that Peck shot herself twice in the “upper extremities” after killing her son in an attempt to commit suicide, Deseret News reported. The affidavit said that when she was unable to kill herself, she drove to another canyon to try to “freeze to death,” the outlet wrote, where she was found by sheriff’s deputies. Peck was at the camping site for about 30 minutes before she shot her son, the affidavit said:

Valerie then used the .22 rifle and shot herself two times. Valerie told me she was trying to kill herself. When this didn’t work, she drove around Uintah County and then decided to go to Fantasy Canyon. When I asked what she was going to do at Fantasy Canyon, she told me she didn’t know, maybe freeze to death.

Detectives have not said whether the call to the authorities came from Peck or from someone else. A Facebook page that seems to belong to the mother shows that she has a husband, David. The two have an older child together. Detectives requested that Peck’s bail be denied since her other son and husband are in the area.

According to Deseret News, Peck was involved in an incident at the Ashley Regional Medical Center in Vernal, Utah, earlier in July and was charged with trespassing. At the time, her husband called the court and reported that Peck was struggling with mental health problems, the outlet wrote. Peck pleaded no contest in September.

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