By Tim Eberly
A Hill County sheriff's deputy arrested a man at Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation Wednesday in connection with a high-profile rape that occurred in Salt Lake County, Utah, last summer.
Shortly after he came on shift, chief deputy Monte Reichelt arrested Dale Joseph Labrum, 38, of Wolf Point at 9:32 p.m. while Labrum and a co-worker were installing computers at Rocky Boy High School, investigators said.
After a DNA test connected him with the crime, Salt Lake County prosectors obtained a warrant charging Labrum with two counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of aggravated kidnapping. Labrum is being held in the Hill County Detention Center on $500,007 bond.
At the request of Salt Lake County detectives, Roosevelt County sheriff's deputies obtained a warrant Nov. 7 to get blood and hair samples from Labrum. When Labrum's DNA matched the semen samples found at the crime scene a woody area in the popular Butterfield Canyon, 20 miles south of Salt Lake City Utah prosecutors issued the warrant for Labrum's arrest on Wednesday.
A computer technician, Labrum and another man were registered at a motel in Havre while they worked at Rocky Boy. Mike Matthews, a chief deputy with the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Office, informed Hill County deputies Steve Marden and Dottie Dwyer of Labrum's whereabouts in Hill County. Matthews had contacted Labrum's place of employment, Will's Office World in Wolf Point, to pinpoint Labrum's location.
During their afternoon shift Wednesday, Dwyer and Marden investigated local hotels and motels before they narrowed their search to the one where Labrum was staying. But Labrum did not return to the motel.
"We waited it out over there and he never showed up," Marden said.
Before their shift change, Marden and Dwyer received a call from Matthews, who told them of Labrum's exact location. So when Reichelt came on duty, he went straight to Rocky Boy after Marden and Dwyer informed him of the situation.
The deputy found the company van parked in front of the school, Marden said. Soon after Reichelt arrived, two men drove off in the van. Reichelt performed a motor vehicle stop and arrested Labrum, said Marden.
If Labrum does not fight extradiction, he could return to Utah in the next two or three weeks to face the charges.
In late July, Labrum went to Utah to attend his 20-year high school reunion, according to Salt Lake County detective Bill Haskins. On July 22, Labrum rode his Harley-Davidson motorcycle into Butterfield Canyon and confronted a woman while she took photos of deer and wild turkeys, Haskins said. The woman, who Haskins said is in her 40s, walked down a trail, where Labrum approached her with a gun.
The woman attempted to get away but Labrum brandished a knife and took her up to a secluded hill, Haskins said. Labrum handcuffed her to a tree, smacked her head against the tree and kicked her in the ribs to subdue her, according to Haskins. Then he raped her twice, Haskins said.
Afterward, he released her from the handcuffs and used her shoelaces to tie her to a branch of the oak tree, said Haskins.
"He told her, You can use your teeth to reach up there and untie the knot and then you can leave after I leave,' " Haskins said.
She was able to untie the shoelaces and within two hours had reported the rape to the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, said Haskins.
Detectives had only a poor sketch, which made the suspect appear as if he were a teenager, and a description of the motorcycle to piece the crime together. A week after local television stations aired the sketch and the motorcycle description on the air, a woman called law enforcement officers, identifying Labrum as a suspect.
"The lady knew him because her husband went to school with him," Haskins said. "They were in the special forces together and went to high school together."
Reluctantly, the woman's husband told Haskins where Labrum resided.
A media firestorm has brewed in Salt Lake County about the case. Residents originally feared the incident was a serial rape, since it was the third rape that had occurred in the canyon in recent years. Police don't believe it was.
"It's an area where a lot of families are. Everybody was concerned it was a serial rape. That's why it was such a high-profile case," Haskins said.
For the last three years, Labrum has worked as a technician as Will's Office World. According to his employer and Matthews, Labrum was a model worker and anonymous resident.