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Police doing welfare check find girl, 15, dead in Salt Lake home

SALT LAKE CITY — Officers who were called to do a welfare check found a 15-year-old girl dead in her Salt Lake City home on Monday.

Salt Lake police gave few details about the death they say was a homicide. No arrests have been made, but police identified Shaun French, 24, as person of interest in the case.

"We just want to speak with him at this point," Salt Lake Police Sgt. Brandon Shearer said.

The name of the girl was not immediately released.

Responding to a death "is difficult any time, but especially hard when it's a young teenager," he said. The girl's parents were speaking with detectives, Shearer added.

Officers responded to the home at 1628 W. 500 North about 3 p.m. after receiving a call from a neighbor who was concerned, Shearer said. Evidence suggests the death happened "probably sometime this afternoon," he said, but he declined to say how the teen died. She was home alone when she was killed.

Shearer said that French had a relationship with those living in the house but didn't provide details. A child support case filed in Utah last year lists the home as French's address, but Shearer said he didn't believe French was living there at the time of the girl's death and that he didn't know if French had previously lived there.

Police dogs late Monday were searching the neighborhood near the Jordan River to develop a track and find evidence or possible suspects, Shearer said.

He said officers aren't sure how the suspect managed to enter the home or whether any other crimes, such as sexual assault, may have occurred.

A fugitive apprehension team comprised of SWAT team members, detectives and intelligence analysts are investigating the case, he said.

Detectives don't believe French is a threat to the public, Shearer said. But he cautioned that the man should be considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached.

Officers said French, who has ties to Ogden and Wyoming, may be heading to Wyoming in a 1991 Daihatsu Rocky wrapped in a camouflage pattern, with Wyoming plate listing 19-13974.

Police are asking anyone with information about French or his car to call 801-799-3000.

Tyler Wiles, who lives nearby, was walking by the home where the teen was found when he spotted a police car and initially thought someone may have been robbed, he said. He was shocked to learn police were investigating a homicide there.

"It's very scary, to be honest," he said of the girl's death. "I would never suspect it."

Contributing: Ashley Moser