Murdered UTA employee may have sent distress call during abduction; family seeks answers

Posted at 9:17 PM, Jun 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-29 23:17:48-04

SALT LAKE  CITY -- It's been revealed that the UTA worker who was kidnapped and murdered last month may have put out a distress call during the abduction.

On Tuesday, father and son duo Flint and D.J. Harrison were charged with the murder and kidnapping of 63-year-old Kay Ricks.

Court documents state that a minute-long call was made from Ricks' UTA radio to UTA dispatch around the same time he was abducted on May 12.

"The investigator stated in the affidavit that it sounded like someone was stressed," said Richard Massey, the Ricks’ family spokesperson.

According to the affidavit, “At approximately 4:59 pm, a commotion was transmitted over K. Ricks radio, which was followed by his radio being turned off at 5:00 pm.”

Massey said those details leave questions unanswered: "If the blips sounded stressful to the investigator, did they sound stressful to a dispatcher or someone else listening to the radio, and was that followed up on?"

The affidavit says it wasn't until 6 p.m., an hour later, that dispatch attempted to contact Ricks on a routine call. He was officially reported missing around midnight.

"I don't think it's a far reach to say if somebody would have responded or notified someone, ‘Hey we got these blips on Kay's radio, somebody might want to go check on him,’ that maybe Kay would have been found sooner,” Massey said.

Police believe Ricks was beaten to death around 7:30 that night. His body was found five days later in an isolated area of Wyoming. The Ricks family is trying to determine if there was any negligence by UTA.

"Fully investigating, including the blip, to see if there could have been something done or not done that could have saved Kay's life," Massey said.

UTA issued this statement on the issue: “This is an ongoing law enforcement investigation and police agencies are still looking into the matter.”