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Bountiful man arrested in his mother's slaying

BOUNTIFUL — Police allege Jeremy Hauck, who was arrested Thursday in Montana, shot his mother twice in the head and slit her throat before dumping her body into a freezer, where it remained for three days until police were able to thaw it out.

The grisly details were revealed in an arrest warrant obtained by the Deseret Morning News that described the slaying and how the crime was covered up. The warrant was one of two filed Thursday in Farmington's 2nd District Court.

"The medical examiner has determined that the decedent (Laura Hauck) was killed by being shot two times in the head with a small caliber gun, possibly a .22 caliber, and that her throat was slit with a knife," Bountiful Police Detective Lloyd Kilpack wrote in an affidavit filed with the arrest warrant. Police and prosecutors have not revealed a motive for the slaying.

Hauck, 18, is now charged with first-degree felony murder and second-degree felony theft in the death of his 52-year-old mother.

He is scheduled to appear before a judge in Missoula, Mont., today his extradition to Utah will be addressed.

Hauck was arrested about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday outside a motel where he had been staying.

His family was relieved to hear of the arrest.

"It's been scary. We were scared," said Laura Hauck's nephew, John Garlock. He said the family was fearful of their own safety because police said Jeremy was on the run and armed.

"It's nice to be able to go back home and not be looking out the window," he said.

Family members said Laura Hauck was from the town of St. Ignatius, which is just outside Missoula. Police said that was one reason why they began focusing on the Montana city.

On a long shot, Bountiful police detectives started calling hotels and motels in the Missoula area. They found Jeremy Hauck at a Super 8 motel.

"He registered under his own name," chuckled Bountiful Police Lt. Randy Pickett.

Missoula police set up a stake-out at the motel, waiting for Hauck to emerge.

"Basically the guy just walked out, not suspecting that there was anybody out there and our officers made contact with him and took him into custody," Missoula Police Sgt. Travis Walsh said Thursday. He described Hauck's arrest as "peaceful."

According to the arrest warrant obtained by the Deseret Morning News, Hauck had a number of guns in his possession.

"When arrested, the defendant Jeremy Hauck was heavily armed with guns and ammunition. He had a 12 gauge shotgun, a .22 caliber firearm, a .223 assault rifle with three (3) thirty (30) round loaded magazines, and a knife," Kilpack wrote in the affidavit.

Bountiful police said they were investigating how Hauck got so many guns.

Hauck was booked into the Missoula County Detention Facility about midnight Thursday on investigation of theft. Police said his mother's car, a blue 2001 Toyota Corolla, was found outside his motel room.

Bountiful police detectives are in Missoula. They hope to file search warrants to look in the motel room and the car today. So far, police said Jeremy Hauck refuses to talk to detectives and has demanded to see a lawyer.

"So far this person has been quite stoic," Walsh told the Deseret Morning News. "Nothing remarkable about his demeanor, really."

Family members have described the young man as "a mystery." While Laura Hauck was engaging in conversations, her son Jeremy would barely speak to anyone.

Laura Hauck's brother, Michael Umphrey, described Jeremy as "unusual," but an "excellent student" with no history of trouble at school or with his mother.

"If you talked to Laura, all you would have heard is that Jeremy was perfect and that Jeremy was a star," he said from his home in St. Ignatius.

Family members said they last heard from Laura Hauck on Friday, Aug. 4, when she talked to her brother-in-law. After days of unanswered calls and knocks on the door of their townhouse condo, the family called Bountiful police. On Monday, officers went into the home through an upstairs window. They found a bloody mattress in the basement and a trail of blood that led to a chest-style freezer. Inside, officers found Laura Hauck's body.

It took days for medical examiners to identify her because they had to let the body thaw inside the freezer to avoid destroying forensic evidence. Police said her body was frozen solid and she had been in there for several days.

In the arrest warrant affidavit, police described newspapers being spread out over a pool of blood in "an apparent attempt to soak up blood."

"Inside of the defendant's upstairs bedroom (3rd floor), officers found a laundry basket with clean laundry on top and a very bloody towel and shirt on the bottom," Kilpack wrote. "In a bathroom adjacent to the defendant's bedroom, officers found blood residue in the sink."

A neighbor said she hadn't seen the car since Friday, Aug. 4. The affidavit said newspapers dated Aug. 5 and 6 had been left inside the home, suggesting Jeremy may have returned there.

"The defendant stayed in a Layton motel (Comfort Inn) the evenings of August 5 and 6," Kilpack wrote.

Hauck's family said with the news of Jeremy's arrest, they could now focus on funeral plans for his mother.

"Nobody is doubting that it was Jeremy anymore. We have no alternate theory," Umphrey said.

Family members said they plan to bury Laura Hauck in St. Ignatius on Saturday.


Contributing: Tristan Scott, The Missoulian

E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com