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21-year-old found dead after allegedly being abducted in Utah

Two teens have been arrested in connection to the death of Alexzia "Alex" Franco after his body was found with a single gunshot wound.
Posted at 8:40 AM, Mar 20, 2024

A 21-year-old man believed to have been abducted over the weekend in a rural Utah town was found dead Tuesday, and two teenagers have been arrested in connection to his death.

The victim has been identified as Alexzia "Alex" Franco. Police said he was found dead with a single gunshot wound Tuesday morning in Taylorsville, Utah — about nine miles south of Salt Lake City.

Two teens, ages 15 and 17, were booked into the Salt Lake Valley Detention Center on multiple felony charges. While the teens have been taken into custody, police say they are still actively investigating the shooting. 

Authorities also said there may have been a third person involved who they want to speak to. However, they said they believe one of the teens in custody was the shooter.

On Sunday, police had asked the public to keep an eye out for a white Jeep Liberty that they say was involved in the possible abduction and shooting. Witnesses said they saw Franco get into the vehicle, then heard a possible gunshot before the driver of the SUV fled at a high rate of speed.

Franco's family members said they have no idea why this happened.

“What did he do so wrong that gives somebody the right to think they could take his life and take him away from his family?” said Sherry Bennett, Franco's aunt. “What could he have possibly done? And why?”

His family said they will remember him as an athletic, cheerful man with a big heart, and they won’t give up on making sure justice is served to the ones who took his life. 

“We are going to get to the bottom of all of this,” said Shellie Kilpatrick, the victim's grandmother. “We’re going to make sure whoever did this to you will pay for the rest of their lives. This has affected a lot of people.”

This story was originally published by Jenna Bree, Spencer Burt and Darienne DeBrule at Scripps News Salt Lake City.