Questions surround deaths of teen boys in South Jordan

By Cristina Rendon

Published 11/16 2013 10:48PM

Updated 11/16 2013 11:19PM

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Questions remained Saturday surrounding the suspected shooting deaths of two teenage boys in a South Jordan home.

Sgt. Sam Winkler said detectives are slowly going through the homicide investigation because three other teenagers who were in the home have gone through a traumatic experience. He said investigators are waiting to talk to the teenagers until their mental health is secure.

Authorities identified the victims as Taylor Wheeler, 12, and Dayton Gessell, 15. Their bodies were found in the basement of a home located on 4781 W. Pine Canyon Lane in South Jordan’s Daybreak neighborhood on Friday.

The victims did not live in the home. Three other teens, ages 14, 14, and 16 were also in the home at the time of the incident. Winkler said two of the those boys are siblings and reside at the house.

The house belongs to the Hanson family. Attorney John Anderson is their attorney who spoke on behalf of the family.

“You have mothers that have lost sons and you have mothers who are grieving for other mothers,” Anderson said. “You have kids who children grieving for friends. It’s been really sad and really hard on them.”

Winkler said detectives are sensitive to the fact that the three other boys in the home are having a hard time dealing with the events. He said authorities are waiting to question the teens before releasing more details.

“Our detectives are confident that there are no outstanding suspects at this time and the community does not need to fear that gunmen are on the loose,” Winkler said.

One of the teens flagged down an off duty officer after the suspected shooting on Friday. Detectives found three handguns inside the home, but would not say if they were fired. Winkler said it would take several weeks for ballistics tests to return to determine if they were used.

“We don’t know what happened in the house,” Winkler added.

Anderson confirmed there was an adult inside the house on Friday. He called the case a tragic accident.

“I don't believe that there’s any malicious intent here,” he said. “I think this is a sad day for a lot of families.”

Anderson also said the Hansons’ hearts go out to the families of Wheeler and Gessell.

“The Hansons wish that it never happened,” he added. “They are beside themselves. They don’t know how to feel. They don’t know what to say. They are so sorry.”

An autopsy is expected to be preformed on the victims Sunday.

Grief counselors from the Jordan School District are expected to be at schools on Monday for students who knew the victims.

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