Before moving his dead body around for several hours, a mom shot her son at a Utah campsite, police said.
Valerie Peck, 40, after shooting at her child, turned the gun on herself in an attempt to take her own life.
Since surviving her wounds, according to an affidavit, she then talked of attempting to freeze to death instead.
The Uintah County Sheriff’s Office responded on December 14 at 2:25pm to a call of a shooting near Fantasy Canyon in central Uintah County.
According to a police press release posted on Facebook, Peck was charged with murder and child neglect following her release from the hospital the next day.
The initial press release reported that the woman was found “just west of State Road 45 on Glen Bench Road” by deputies and that when they arrived, the boy was dead.
“The woman, who was identified by deputies as the mother of the boy, received on-site medical treatment before being taken to a hospital because of the severity of her injuries,” the authorities said.
The sheriff’s office said their investigation found that Peck and her son Zack had gone to the Dry Fork Canyon area for a drive earlier on December 14.
“Peck put her son back in the car after spending some time in the area and shot him with a .22 caliber rifle. Peck shot herself then said the press release.
Before she was finally identified by sheriff’s deputies, Peck then rode around the city for a few more hours.
The Deseret News notes that a police affidavit claims that Peck shot herself twice in the “upper extremities” after killing her son in an attempt to commit suicide.
The affidavit claimed that she drove to another canyon to attempt to “freeze to death,” when she was unable to kill herself, the outlet wrote, where she was found by sheriff’s deputies.
The affidavit said: “Valerie then used .22 rifle and shot herself twice. Valerie told me she was trying to kill herself. She drove around Uintah County when this didn’t work and then decided to go to Fantasy Canyon. When this didn’t work, she decided to go to Fantasy Canyon.”
“When I asked what she was going to do at Fantasy Canyon, she told me she didn’t know, maybe freeze to death.”
If the call to the authorities came from Peck or from someone else, detectives have not said.