Elvis Zachary Olsen, 22, was found shot to death, police have arrested Sex Offender Jesse Anthony Saenz, 24
Authorities expect to extradite a fugitive sex offender found in Arizona behind the wheel of a car believed stolen from an eastern Utah homicide victim, who also was a registered sex offender.
Uintah County Sheriff Jeff Merrell made the announcement on Wednesday from Phoenix, where he went to question Jesse Anthony Saenz. Saenz was wanted after he allegedly skipped bail in Vernal, where he was awaiting trial for rape.
Saenz, 24, of Uintah County, had posted a $64,000 bond on April 17, four days before Elvis Zachary Olsen, 22, of Roosevelt, was found shot to death Sunday near Ft. Duchesne on the Ute Indian Reservation.
On Tuesday, Saenz allegedly was found in Glendale, Ariz., driving the 2011 Mazda 3S sedan belonging to Olsen.
"We’re calling him a person of interest [in the homicide] at this point," Undersheriff John Laursen, noting that the homicide investigation was ongoing while extradition of Saenz was implemented.
Laursen said detectives were looking into what connection the two sex offenders — Saenz and Olsen — may have had. Both were believed to be in the Uintah County Jail at the same time, but they did not share a cell, he said.
Saenz had been released after posting bond, on condition he wear an ankle monitor. He was awaiting a July trial on five first-degree felony counts, ranging from aggravated sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping and forcible sodomy to object rape and forcible sexual abuse.
According to a court documents, Saenz allegedly followed a woman home on a shuttle bus from a nightclub early the morning of June 10, 2012. Then, once they both got off the bus, he allegedly punched her twice and dragged her across a street to a spot outside an apartment complex, where he raped her and then broke her cell phone.
Vernal police responding to a 911 call found the weeping woman still on the ground. She told police she did not know Saenz, who was apprehended Saenz, court documents state.
Saenz also has been charged with first-degree forcible sodomy for a crime that allegedly occurred between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2006 in Uintah County. Court records do not contain additional details about what happened in that case.
ROOSEVELT — Johnny Olsen readily acknowledges that his son had a few scrapes with the law, but says he was finally "going down the right path."
"He was doing so good," Olsen said Monday. "I'm just kind of stumped."
Elvis Zachary Olsen's body was found Sunday in a wooded area north of a home near 6500 East and 1600 North in Fort Duchesne, said Uintah County Sheriff Jeff Merrell.
An autopsy performed Monday showed that Olsen, 22, died as a result of "gunshot wounds," Merrell said, declining to say how many times Olsen had been shot or where the bullets struck him.
The case has been classified as a homicide, the sheriff said.
Investigators with the sheriff's office, FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs are working the case. They had been looking for Olsen's car, which was found out of state late Monday.
Uintah County sheriff's detectives were expected to meet Tuesday morning with a person who was taken into custody when the car was found, said Undersheriff John Laursen. He declined to identify the state where the car was found or who had possession of the vehicle.
A check of state court records shows that Olsen pleaded guilty in 2009 to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, in 2011 to unlawful sex with a minor and in 2012 to failure to register as a sex offender.
On Feb. 20, Olsen was sentenced to serve 90 days in jail for violating his probation in the unlawful sex with a minor case.
Uintah County Jail records show he was released Thursday — four days before his body was found — after receiving credit for time served and time off for good behavior.
"We are currently looking through our jail stats and reports to try to find out what kind of inmate he was," Laursen said.
Johnny Olsen said his son's past legal problems were the result of him being "in the wrong car at the wrong time with the wrong person" and having a probation officer who made it "hard" for his son to succeed.
"He was trying get his life, it was going down the right path, let's put it like that," the elder Olsen said. "He's always trying to help somebody. He was just easy going. If he had something planned, he'd drop it to go help someone else."
Investigators have identified a "person of interest," according to Laursen. But he said they are still asking anyone with information to call 435-789-2511.
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