Kemmerer Gazette: Two Diamondville residents recognized for assistance in Harrison case

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Click here to read this article on the Gazette website.

At the Diamondville Town Council meeting on Monday, May 15, two Diamondville residents were recognized for their help in alerting law enforcement about the whereabouts of DJ and Flint Harrison, who were on the run for a kidnapping charge in Utah.

Shaylee Smith and Taylor McCloud saw the Harrisons’ vehicle at the Arctic Circle in Diamondville on May 12, 2016, and alerted the Sublette County Sherriff’s Department (who notified the Diamondville police) about what they had seen.

The details from the young women enabled law enforcement to connect Flint Harrison and DJ Harrison with the disappearance of Utah man Kay Ricks and eventually pinpoint the suspects’ location in Wyoming.

DJ Harrison will be sentenced for the murder of Kay Ricks, 63 on Wednesday, May 17.

Diamondville Police Chief Mike Thompson and Ricks family spokesperson and attorney Richard Massey presented Smith and McCloud with a special citizen’s award in recognition for their help in providing details for the Harrison case.

Chief Thompson presented the young women with plaques commemorating their assistance with the case.

“Citizens do not get recognized enough by law enforcement when they step forward with the information that leads to solving cases,” Chief Thompson said. “Protecting the community involves not just the officers that are paid to do this; it also involves citizens who live in our communities and communicate with officers. It’s not always easy. Society in some cases can be insensitive and cutthroat to those who assist law enforcement, especially in today’s world with social media.”

“As the chief of police, I’d like to give special recognition to two young ladies tonight who had the courage to come forward as witnesses in coming forward to help law enforcement agencies in two states solve a very tragic case, but most importantly, to help give closure to a family missing a loved one,” Thompson said. “This act is what helps protect communities large and small. It’s a great example of working together.”

Ricks family attorney and spokesperson Richard Massey also addressed the young women and spoke about his relationship with Ricks.

“Kay Ricks was my friend,” Massey said. “He lived about two blocks from me, and I saw Kay and spoke with him every Sunday in the hallway at church when we should have been in Sunday School. I miss him greatly.”

Massey also presented Smith and McCloud with a gift from the Ricks family.

“In American Fork, Utah, tonight, there’s a family in grief who has been grieving for the past year,” Massey said. “They knew I was coming up here tonight, and they wanted to make sure that you got a thank you from them for what you had done in the participation in the case.”

Massey echoed Chief Thompson’s remarks about the difficulty of being a witness in such a high-profile case.

“We understand that you took some ribbing for the help that you gave, and I would say to every one of those people that did that, I’d like them to meet the Ricks family, and see what it was exactly that you did for them, and how you helped them,” Massey said. “The Ricks family says thank you, God bless you, and keep up the good work.”

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the young women notified the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department. They notified Sublette County Sheriff’s Department, who notified Diamondville and Kemmerer police. 

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