WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Police have identified a man who was found dead near Snowbasin Tuesday, and four people face charges in connection with the man’s death.
According to a press release from the West Valley City Police Department, the body found is that of 35-year-old Cleat Aaron Knight.
Knight was reported missing Dec. 8 by members of his family, and police have been following up on information regarding his disappearance. Further investigation revealed that the suspects allegedly planned to kidnap Knight due to a disputed debt involving drugs, according to the release.
Deputy Chief Mike Powell of the West Valley City Police Department said the alleged events took the suspects and their victims on a journey through several jurisdictions.
"This whole incident was a result of an alleged drug debt, and the suspects involved in this particular case developed this plan to kidnap Cleat," he said. "As they followed through, or began to follow through with that plan, it started here in West Valley City, went through South Salt Lake, and ultimately ended up in Weber County."
Investigators found information that lead them to Knight’s body Tuesday, and an autopsy revealed that Knight died due to gunshot injuries. The body was recovered from under about 6 feet of snow.
The four individuals each face charges of aggravated kidnapping, criminal homicide and obstruction of justice, according to the press release. The suspects are: 35-year-old Christopher Kim Leech, also known as “Psycho Chris”; 42-year-old Viliamu Seumanu, also known as “Juice”; 41-year-old Tina Maxine Soules; and 42-year-old Theron Myore, also known as “T.J.”
Police said all four suspects have criminal records, and FOX 13 News covered a case in 2007 in which Leech, "Psycho Chris", was charged with attempted murder.
Police said in that incident Leech fired several rounds at a fellow motorist in Taylorsville. He allegedly fired the shots through the window of his own car and over the heads of his two small children, who were in the backseat of the vehicle. Leech was ultimately found guilty of aggravated assault in connection with the incident.
Police said Leech is the prime suspect in the murder of Knight.
According to court documents, Knight also had prior criminal convictions, including obstruction of justice in 2011, attempted possession or use of a controlled substance in 2011, attempted theft by receiving stolen property in 2010, and attempted forgery in 2007. Knight had numerous other convictions, which date back to 1999.
The case remains under investigation, and FOX 13 News will have more information as it becomes available.