A “DANGEROUS” fugitive couple has been arrested in connection with the alleged murder of a young woman whose body was found dumped in the woods.
Stevie Shay Wilkerson had been missing from St George in Utah for almost three weeks when she was found dead in a remote area of western Iron County on August 23.
Authorities who responded to the scene determined the 26-year-old female had been “in the area for some time” and said her death was being treated as a homicide, according to the Iron County Sheriff’s Department.
Police today announced that Brittany “Josie” Elizabeth Philips, 27, of Missouri, and Joseph “Joey” Edward Fought, 30, of North Carolina, have been arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle in Californa.
“Both are suspects in the homicide of Stevie Wilkerson,” according to charging documents.
“Our gratitude goes out to all agencies which have been working tirelessly to apprehend these two dangerous subjects,” a police statement read.
“Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Stevie Wilkerson.”
According to police, the pair remains in custody as they await extradition on that charge with additional charges pending.
In a probable cause statement filed in Utah’s Fifth District Court, it’s alleged Philips and Fought were seen in the St George area in early August driving a white Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck reported stolen from a rental company in Arkansas.
Surveillance video reportedly shows the vehicle being parked at hotels, restaurants and pawn shops in the area leading up to August 9.
At that point, Fought and Philips transported Wilkerson and another female in the truck to Cedar City, where the other woman said Wilkerson was “removed from the truck and left near the city of Enterprise”, according to the statement.
Both Fought and Philips have extensive criminal histories that span multiple states, charging documents note.
Wilkerson’s mother Valma earlier told The Sun she believed her daughter had been abducted by a couple “wanted in other states for the same crime”.
Wilkerson was last seen leaving the Claridge Inn, St. George on August 9.
The following day, her mother, Vawna Wilkerson, sought help in a Facebook post, saying her daughter had been “taken against her own will” and was “being held hostage” by a couple she “accidentally crossed paths with” at the Red Roof Inn in St. George.
“Please help me find my beautiful baby girl… they are armed and have threatened to kill her,” Vawna said.
Iron County Sergeant Dave Mitchell previously told The Sun that police were looking into the possibility that a couple kidnapped and murdered Wilkerson but would not provide further details.
Vawna posted an update on her page last week.
“The police nor my daughter’s boyfriend or Red Roof Inn hotel or Claridge Inn hotel will give me descriptions of [the alleged suspects] or even let me see the videos of these people who are wanted apparently in other states for the same crime,” she wrote.
Attempts to contacts Vawna were unsuccessful on Tuesday.
Family friend Vanessa Soto – who setup a Gofundme account for the Wilkersons – said Vawna was “taking this extremely hard”.
“Stevie was a beautiful, talented, amazing young woman,” Soto wrote.
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“She was only 26 years old when she passed. She loved her pitbull Niko. She will be very, very missed.
“Her death is still under investigation so her mother only knows that she was finally found but she still has many unanswered questions.
“No one deserves to have died the way beautiful Stevie did, and no mother should have to go through the death of their child.”