FREDONIA, Arizona (ABC 4 News) – The search continued on Saturday for the suspect accused of gunning down and killing a Kane County Sheriff’s deputy on Thursday. Saturday, p
olice widened their search area, and desperate for any leads in the case, announced a $10,000 reward for help in capturing the deputy’s killer.
Sheriff Smith said of his late deputy, “It’s just a big hole… a big loss.” Smith said that when he lost Deputy Brian Harris, he lost a good deputy, neighbor, and a friend. “It’s going to be hard to replace him,” Smith said, and continued, “It’s going to shock everybody. It’s not just the sheriff’s office. This is a small community. He was the first one on the fire truck. He was the first on any accident. He’s a very devoted deputy.”
Seeking justice for their lost deputy, officers have widened their search area. They are redoubling searches of buildings in and around Fredonia because they believe at some point Curley will seek shelter.
Bill Pribil, with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, expressed his worries regarding the suspect when he said, “we’re putting our officers in jeopardy because they’re having to clear a building and if a suspect is in the buildings there is a real chance, I believe, that he will not surrender.”
Despite the danger, they are committed to continuing and expanding the search. Observers have been posted within a 15 square mile search zone in case he tries to move during the day. Police are also considering the possibility that he escaped the area around Fredonia – possibly going to Navajo tribal lands or elsewhere.
David Gonzales, U.S. Marshal said, “A fugitive has to be lucky every day. We just have to be lucky once.” Gonzales also announced a $10,000 reward to give people incentive to come forward, saying, “there is somebody out there that knows where this guy is.” He promised they will stick around as long as it takes. “No mistake about it,” Gonzales added, “this is not leaving the front burner. And this is going to be priority one until Mr. Curley goes to jail.”
Police were notified of one possible sighting late Thursday night on a nearby hill, but that search came to nothing. Authorities have begun to work up a psychological profile, and they are now discounting the idea that Scott Curley planned the confrontation that led to murder. They’re calling him troubled, depressed, and, perhaps, delusional. They believe Curley is a quiet young man with very few friends who may have used drugs and definitely used alcohol. But he has been able to successfully elude capture.
Each day, as of Saturday, the search has grown bigger and bigger. We’ve been told that there are officers here from 36-agencies – including 18 from Utah, 8 from Arizona, 1from Nevada, and 9 from the federal government.
However, Gonzales said that he knows if Curley is not found in the next few days, the search operation involving hundreds of law enforcement officers will have to be scaled back. “We can’t do this forever,” Gonzales said, and added, “We don’t intend to. We never intended to.” But he also assured the case will not be dropped, “I don’t care if it takes 3 months or 3 years; we’re going to be here until we find this guy.”
Sheriff Smith will meet with the deputy’s family Saturday night, and he will talk with their LDS bishop and a funeral director to discuss the funeral arrangements. Given the anticipated size of the funeral, with hundreds of law enforcement officers and dignitaries, they are worried the funeral will overwhelm the small ward house in Orderville. Because of this, the funeral may have to be moved elsewhere.