2 South Dakota men arrested after body found in car's trunk at Utah gas station

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Posted at 11:29 PM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 19:33:39-04

MONA, Utah — New court documents are shedding some light on why two men were arrested Sunday after a woman's body was found in a vehicle at a gas station in Juab County.

David Manuel Mestas was booked on suspicion of murder and abuse or desecration of a body. Richard Anthony Sanchez is also facing charges of abuse or desecration of a body, as well as obstructing justice. Both men are 26 years old and from South Dakota.

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A female suspect was also detained and interviewed by police, but it does not appear she was arrested. Police say she is both Mestas' and Sanchez's sister.

According to the arrest reports, the two men were fleeing from South Dakota to Las Vegas after being involved in a previous shooting. Two women, who were also involved in the South Dakota incident, were traveling with them.

Mestas admitted to police that he was using methamphetamine during the trip. He said he felt weird and heard the others talking about him, including one of the women calling him a snitch. He admitted that he pointed a gun at her multiple times, and at one point, he shot her in the head.

Mestas said he and Sanchez then put the woman's body in the trunk of the vehicle and covered it with bags and clothing.

The victim's identity has not been publicly released.

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At the gas station in Mona, the group got into a fight, and that's when police were called. One of the three told police their friend's body was in the vehicle and that a gun was hidden under the driver's seat.

Police said the female suspect's story matched Mestas'. She also said the South Dakota shooting happened after she told the now-deceased woman about being pistol-whipped by a man several months ago. The now-deceased woman then "set up" the man who assaulted the other woman, and that's when the shooting occurred. It was not stated whether that shooting was fatal or who shot who.

Sanchez declined to speak with police.

Both men are being held without bail.