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Son charged in mother’s death

Prosecutors say he strangled victim after an argument

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Edith Baruque was like a mother to Craig Adams during the three months he spent as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Yumbo, Colombia, in 1979.

Baruque and her husband cared for Adams and his companion when they were sick and introduced them to several people who later joined the LDS Church.

"Every baptism in that town I could probably attribute to them," Adams said.

The bond between Adams and the Baruques continued over the years. Two of Baruque's daughters lived in Adams' home at separate times for several months. In 1989, the Baruques moved to Sandy.

"I probably talked to her on the phone at least once a week," Adams said.

But on June 28, Baruque's stepmother found her strangled in her Sandy home, 8250 S. Gerona Circle (1330 East). Friday, Baruque's son, 26-year-old Farid Baruque, was charged with his mother's murder.

Prosecutors allege Farid Baruque strangled his mother sometime between midnight and 3 a.m. June 28 after an argument. Farid Baruque faces up to life in prison if he's convicted of the first-degree felony murder charge against him.

Adams said he and others close to the Baruques were not sure what to think when Farid Baruque was charged with his mother's death.

"I've seen him around his mom; I've seen him around his family," Adams said. "I have a hard time believing in a normal state of mind that he'd do what they've accused him of. . . . If there's evidence to show he did it I hope he'd be willing to tell the truth."

Family members declined to comment on Edith Baruque's death or the charges against Farid Baruque, said family spokesman Mark Lawrence, who is married to Edith Baruque's oldest daughter.

Farid has been in the Salt Lake County Jail on $1 million bail since his arrest June 28 and so was not at his mother's funeral Monday.

"We're pretty confident the system will work like it's supposed to," Adams said.

Meanwhile, Edith Baruque's memory lives on for those close to her. Adams said one speaker at the funeral joked it was hard to find any pictures of Edith Baruque without at least one other person in the photo.

"You could go to her house — anytime I was there, there was always somebody there," Adams said. "She always had people with her."

Prosecutors say they believe Farid Baruque acted alone in killing his mother.

Farid Baruque showed up at the murder scene later in the day with numerous scratches on his face and claimed he'd received them from playing basketball at a gym the night before, according to charges filed in 3rd District Court.

Baruque later admitted to police he received the scratches during an argument after he, his mother and two other people returned from the gym around 10 p.m., charges state. Those two witnesses, however, told police they never witnessed such an argument and didn't notice the scratches until the next day, after Edith Baruque's death, according to charges.

Farid Baruque's sister also told police she heard him reset the security alarm in her house, where he also lived, just after 11 p.m. Police later found Farid Baruque's screen window had been removed, charges state.

A medical examiner also ruled Edith Baruque died of strangulation sometime between midnight and 3 a.m., charges state.


E-mail: djensen@desnews.com