Man Allegedly Killed Teen While She Was on Phone with Mom Because He Feared She'd Disclose Secret Relationship

Authorities in Utah allege Shaun French confessed to friends that he killed Baleigh Bagshaw

Shaun French, the Utah man accused of killing 15-year-old Baleigh Bagshaw while she talked on the phone with her mom after school, was allegedly “obsessed” with the teen and later admitted he “damn near cut her head off” by slitting her throat, the suspect’s friends told investigators according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

The filings, dated May 25, lay out the allegations against French, 24. They include police interviews with Baleigh’s mom, who said French was having a sexual relationship with her daughter.

According to the mother, French allegedly called Baleigh repeatedly a week before her May 7 killing trying to meet up with her so that he could try to dissuade her from disclosing the relationship to her mom, the filings state.

But Baleigh opened up to her mother about French, telling her the two began having sex when she was 14, the mother told authorities, according to the documents.

Within hours, Baleigh’s mother said she was receiving sexually explicit photos of the girl from a newly created social media account. At that point, mother and daughter agreed to pursue a restraining order against French.

The alleged murderer became a fugitive after the killing, prompting a two-day manhunt. When French was arrested, he was initially charged with unlawful sexual acts with a minor.

Last Friday, French learned he now faces four more charges: first-degree felony counts of aggravated murder and aggravated burglary, and second-degree felony counts of obstruction of justice and sexual exploitation. He had not pleaded to the charges and remains in custody without bond.

PEOPLE was unable to reach French’s attorneys for comment.

baileigh-bagshaw
Baleigh Bagshaw/Facebook

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The charging documents allege French stopped at Baleigh’s Salt Lake City home the day she was killed because he feared he would be charged with statutory rape.

A friend who was allegedly with him at the time told police French left him in a park, went to Baleigh’s house, and returned with blood on his face and hands.

His clothes were also covered in blood, the friend told detectives, and when asked about it, French allegedly said he cut a girl’s throat.

He allegedly told his friend “I damn near cut her head off.”

The friend, who said French was “obsessed” with Baleigh and spoke of marrying her, also told police French discarded a backpack full of his bloody clothing in a convenience store trash can.

Investigators scoured local landfills, finding the backpack, which was allegedly full of bloody clothing, duct tape, rubber and latex gloves, a knife, and a balaclava, the documents state.

shaun-french
Salt Lake City Police Department

French had lived in Baleigh’s home between January 2017 to July 2017. He was asked to leave by her mother, but the court documents don’t specify why.

But they further allege French called his brother May 9 from Colorado, where he was apprehended, and admitted that he “cut a girl’s throat.”

An autopsy later revealed Baleigh had suffered a severe laceration to the front of her neck as well as stab wounds to her neck and left shoulder and cuts on her fingers.

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