Creepy November 16, 2017
The Story Of The Serial Killer Who Terrorized Utah In The 1980s Is Truly Frightening
Utah is a pretty safe state, with a much lower than average crime rate (the Beehive State is currently ranked as the 9th safest state for violent crime, based on 2015 numbers from the FBI). However, from 1979 to 1983, a serial killer roamed the street of Salt Lake City, and his target was little boys.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
Starting in 1979, little boys began disappearing from neighborhoods in Salt Lake City.
On October 14, 1979, four-year-old Alonzo Daniels was playing in the yard of his Salt Lake City apartment building when a man asked him if he wanted some candy. He did, and he followed the man into a nearby apartment. He was never seen alive again.
Four more young boys disappeared over the next few years.
On November 9, 1980, 11-year-old Kim Peterson met a man at a bowling alley who offered to buy some roller skates he was selling. Kim met with the man the next day, and went rabbit hunting with him in the West Desert. He never came home.
Four-year-old Danny Davis disappeared from a Smith's grocery store on October 20, 1981. He had wandered away from his grandfather into the toy aisle, and met a man who offered to give him more toys. Danny followed the man out of the store and was dead an hour later.
Troy Ward was celebrating his sixth birthday when he vanished during his birthday party at a Salt Lake City park on June 22nd, 1983. A stranger asked him for directions to an artesian well nearby, and Troy willingly hopped into the car to show the man. He didn't survive for more than a few hours.
Thirteen-year-old Graeme Cunningham had been hanging out with friends at the home of Gary Bishop for a few years, and was planning to take a trip to California with some of his friends, with Bishop as a chaperone. When Bishop asked him to accompany him into the basement on July 14, 1983 to take some nude photos, the boy initially refused, but when offered $100, he agreed. Graeme never came back out of the basement; Bishop hit him in the head with a hammer, then drowned him in the bathtub.
When he returned from his trip to California, detectives were waiting to talk to Gary Bishop (aka Roger Downs) about Graeme Cunningham's disappearance.
At the police station, Bishop confessed to killing Graeme. Then he astounded detectives by confessing to the murders of the other four boys.
Gary Bishop gave police directions to a spot near Cove Fort, where he had buried Alonzo Daniels, Kim Peterson and Danny Davis.
He also provided the location of the other two bodies: Big Cottonwood Creek.
During his confession, Gary Bishop confided that he had sexually abused and taken nude photos of at least 54 boys over several years. He expressed remorse for his crimes, but also said he was glad that he was caught because he knew that he would keep committing the crimes.
Bishop had been briefly questioned during the search for Alonzo Daniels and Danny Davis, since he lived within a block of where both disappeared. He knew the parents of Graeme Cunningham. All while the families of the five young boys were in anguish over their missing sons, the predator was living in their midst.
Bishop's trial commenced on February 27, 1984. At the end of three weeks of testimony, a jury found him guilty of five counts of aggravated murder and aggravated kidnapping. He was sentenced to death.
While awaiting his execution, he wrote a letter in which he explained his compulsions. He noted that he was a homosexual pedophile who used child pornography to satisfy his urges, but also found it impossible to avoid molesting young boys as well. He stated that while he deeply regretted his crimes, he knew he would molest and kill again if given the opportunity.
Bishop was executed by lethal injection on June 10,1988 at the Utah State Prison.
Take a look at this KUTV2 news footage that provides even more information about Arthur Gary Bishop and his crimes:
Do you remember when these tragic murders happened?
Utah was also briefly home to another horrific serial killer. Take a look at
this article about Ted Bundy.