Man arrested after officials say he posed as student at Moab schools

Margeret L. Hopkin Middle School
Posted at 3:00 PM, Oct 15, 2021

MOAB, Utah — Officials with the Grand County School District shared frightening details of how a man easily accessed two Moab schools this week while posing as a student. The man was later arrested after he followed two students home and entered their house.

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The district said the 19-year-old man, later identified as a Tu Ngo, entered through the front doors of Grand County High School Tuesday and began mingling with students before school started.

In a release sent Friday, the district claimed that although Ngo is 19, he "could easily pass as 14."

Ngo entered the school office and was asked by an employee if he was a student, to which he claimed he was. However, a real student said Ngo was not enrolled at the school and Ngo left the premises.

After leaving the high school, Ngo allegedly walked to Margaret L. Hopkin Middle School where he was seen playing on the playground. An employee of that school approached Ngo and brought him to the office, where he told officials he was 14 "and would like to go to school there."

A member of the middle school staff called the high school who relayed what had happened earlier in the day, leading employees to call police. When officers arrived, they took Ngo into custody, although it's not known what happened afterwards.

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On Wednesday afternoon, Ngo returned to the middle school and began running with students in a PE class before he was asked to leave by a teacher, which the district said he did.

However, later on the same day, Ngo entered Grand County High School during the last hour and walked with students inside a classroom. Believing Ngo was a new student, the teacher allowed him to remain in the class through the remainder of the period.

District officials said Ngo did not threaten any students during his time in both the middle and high school.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the Grand County Sheriff's Office said Ngo followed a female student and her younger sister to their home Wednesday, asking "random questions that did not flow to the conversation ranging from video game play to how [the girl's] day was."

Despite being told he was not welcome at their house by the girls, Ngo allegedly walked inside and sat on a couch. The girls told authorities that they were frightened and did not "press the issue of Tu not leaving as he requested food from the victims." Ngo showed the girls a name tag from a recent hospital stay when they asked him his name.

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When told the girls had called their father about what was happening, "Tu got off the couch and walked out the door," according to the affidavit. But he later showed up at the workplace of the older sister and asked for a job, only leaving when he was told again that the girl's father had been called.

On Thursday, officials were able to take Ngo into custody after he had been seen near Moab Regional Hospital. When asked by officers about entering the home and going to the schools, Ngo "could not answer and said he did not know what they were talking about."

Ngo was arrested and booked on criminal trespassing and criminal trespassing at a school.

The school district said a staff meeting was held Friday at Grand County High School to "determine what went wrong and what needs to be done to ensure a similar situation doesn’t happen again."

"The GCHS leadership team and accreditation committees are identifying all processes and procedures that were lacking, changing them where appropriate, and then training all staff to ensure knowledge and compliance. GCSD administration and staff will use this unfortunate situation to improve and be better, and ensure that nothing like this happens again," the district wrote.