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Police arrest Utah mother accused of shooting, killing her 2-year-old son

SHARE Police arrest Utah mother accused of shooting, killing her 2-year-old son
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Valerie Peck, 40, was booked in the Uintah County Jail for investigation of aggravated murder and child abuse after police say she shot her 2-year-old son to death.

Uintah County Jail

SALT LAKE CITY — After Valerie Peck shot and killed her 2-year-old son, she shot herself twice in an attempt to end her life, according to a police affidavit.

When that didn’t work, she drove to another nearby canyon to possibly “freeze to death,” the affidavit states. Ultimately, deputies found Peck and after a brief stay at a local hospital, she was booked into the Uintah County Jail for investigation of aggravated murder and child abuse.

The investigation began on Monday when dispatchers received a 911 call from a person reporting that a woman had shot her 2-year-old son and then attempted suicide by shooting herself, the affidavit states. The Uintah County Sheriff’s Office has not said whether she or someone else contacted them about the shooting.

When deputies arrived to an area on Glenn Bench Road off state Route 45, they found 2-year-old Zack in the car and his mother with two gunshot wounds to her “upper extremities,” according to the affidavit.

When interviewed at the hospital, Peck said she had taken a .22-caliber rifle from her house and went for a drive with her son, the affidavit states. She drove into Dry Fork Canyon onto Red Cloud Loop Road and pulled into a camping site.

She stayed at this location with her son for about 30 minutes before she placed her son back into the car and then shot him, the affidavit states.

“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,” according to the affidavit.

Peck drove around Uintah County for “several hours” with her son inside the vehicle after shooting him, according to a prepared statement from the sheriff's office, before stopping west of state Route 45 on Glen Bench Road, nearly 40 miles south of the shooting.

After being treated at a hospital, Peck was booked Tuesday into the Uintah County Jail.

“The sheriff’s office extends its most sincere condolences to all who knew and loved Zack,” according to a statement from the office.

Investigators have requested Peck be held without bail, noting she has a husband and another son living in the Vernal area.

Peck was charged with trespassing in July for an incident that happened at the Ashley Regional Medical Center in Vernal. After she was charged, Peck’s husband called the court and stated that his wife was dealing with mental health issues, according to court records. Peck pleaded no contest to the charge in September.