A Utah man suspected of faking his own death after being charged with sexual assault has turned himself into authorities.
Ted Lee Whitehead, 37, walked into the Wasatch County Sheriff’s office on April 1, and said he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest from April 2016, reports KSL.com
Whitehead had been charged with felony rape and felony rape of a child last April in Duchesne County. And he allegedly faked his own death rather than face the charges.
Whitehead posted bond and was awaiting trial when family members contacted authorities on June 1, saying Whitehead had disappeared and had left a suicide note.
The note claimed that Whitehead planned to jump off the Highway 88 Bridge in Ouray, Utah into the Green River.
Investigators discovered Whitehead’s car, sandals, and an empty whiskey bottle near the river.
Authorities searched the river for two weeks but found nothing.
“We had suspicions that he may have faked his own death but we didn’t have any solid evidence,” Lt. Jeremy Curry with the Duchesne County Sheriff’s Office told Fox 13 News.
According to court papers, in November, the alleged rape victim received a laptop in the mail with a note saying the computer was a gift from Google.
The victim and her mother told authorities they believe the letter, filled with grammatical errors, was from Whitehead.
A forensic analysis of the laptop revealed videos and photos of child pornography and a “journal” purporting to written by the victim. Police believe the suspect wrote the journal entries to make himself appear innocent.
In a sworn court statement, Detective Darrin Yates said, “The journal entries contain very graphic sexual writing stating how the victim was in love with (Whitehead) and how she always wanted to have sex with the suspect and how she misses him,” the detective wrote. “It is believed (Whitehead) wrote the journal entries and downloaded the child porn to frame the victim.”
Whitehead is currently being held without bail and is awaiting transportation to Duchesne County. He is reportedly refusing to speak to investigators.
Lt. Curry told Fox 12 he believes various media reports over the last week speculating that Whitehead may still be alive may have prompted Whitehead to turn himself in.
Photo: Duchesne County Sheriff