UPDATED: Double homicide suspect surrenders to police after 2-hour standoff

ST. GEORGE — An overnight search for a woman suspected of killing two residents ended Wednesday morning.

A St. George Police officer watches from nearby bushes during a standoff with a double murder suspect in Dinosaur Crossing, St. George, Utah, June 19, 2024 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

After a two-hour standoff and negotiation, Mia Bailey, 28, surrendered to authorities — dropping a handgun and coming out of a hiding spot in an open field next to a brick wall bordering a housing complex in the Dinosaur Crossing area of St. George.

Bailey is suspected in the Tuesday night murders of a man and a woman in the Washington Fields area of Washington City.

Just after a shelter-in-place order was lifted in St. George, a large police presence could be seen Wednesday morning around 8 a.m. in the area of Church Oak Drive and Stonedale Drive, including the Washington County Incident Management Team, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, as well as St. George and Washington City police departments.

Also on hand were U.S. Marshals and Washington County Adult Probation and Parole.

Patrol vehicles and officers could be seen standing in a field south of Church Oak Drive. After about two hours of negotiations, Bailey was taken into custody, St. George Police Lt. Johnny Heppler told St. George News.

Lt. Kory Klotz of the Washington City Police Department said the suspect wasn’t making threats to the public, but was making threats to herself.

“It was multiple times of potential self-harm. That’s where our negotiations and officers that were interacting with her were able to talk with her and build that rapport with her to get those interactions so that this isn’t the end for her,” Klotz said. “We want to make sure that she knows that and that we’re going to treat her the correct way and in a fair way. Make sure our justice system is followed and that she gets the respect that she needs.”

Mia Bailey surrenders to police after an overnight search for the suspect, St. George, Utah, June 19, 2024 | Photo courtesy of Julie Colbert

The suspect was seen leaving the area with both hands in the air approaching several officers with guns drawn. She then appeared to be directed to lay face down on the ground, handcuffed by the officers and taken away.

Klotz said ultimately the goal was to see that no harm came to the public or the suspect.

“We were able to talk her from leaving the gun where she was at. The gun was clearly visible to us,” Klotz said. “It was a constant discussion of, ‘Hey, let’s work through this. We can move on, and we’ll get through this today.’ Mia complied with what we were asking, set the gun down, was able to get up and walk over to our officers that were able to take her into custody.”

With multiple police vehicles on the streets bordering the open field, the scene was quiet, save for loud hammering from a nearby construction site. Police and SWAT team members could be seen in bushes where the suspect knelt near a concrete wall.

“The SWAT team was there getting into those areas of the heavy brush, the more dangerous situations when you’re searching for a known suspect with a weapon,” Klotz said. “I mean, their courage and stuff to go into those situations is outstanding and unmatched.”

Negotiators with the St. George Police Department led the negotiations throughout the incident.

“We’re fortunate to have such a well-trained and well-versed negotiation team who were essential today in being able to talk with the suspect and get that person to come into custody safely,” Officer Tiffany Mitchell with the St. George Police Department said. “We were afraid that it wouldn’t. But we’re grateful that it did.”

The Washington City Police Department investigates a scene in Washington City, Utah, June 18, 2024 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Mitchell added that the Washington County Citizen Alert system that sent text messages and called residents played a role, letting people in the area know where the suspect was sighted and to shelter in place, with citizens providing tips on the location of the suspect to authorities.

The search for Bailey began Tuesday evening after police responded to 1039 East Chinook Drive in Washington City on a report of gunshots, as previously reported by St. George News. Two people, a man and a woman, were pronounced dead at the scene.

“As they cleared the rest of the residence, they found evidence of a homicide,” Klotz told St. George News at the scene Tuesday night.

Police said Bailey, who previously went by the first name Collin and is transitioning from male to female, has a driver’s license indicating she is female.

The search for Bailey continued through the night a shelter-in-place order was issued around 4 a.m. for the areas of Bloomington Hills and Fort Pierce after Bailey was reportedly spotted in the area of Quarry Ridge and River Road.

An image provided by police of Mia Bailey, 28, a suspect in the murder of two people in Washington City, Utah. Location and date not disclosed | Photo courtesy of the Washington City Police Department, St. George News

“We were starting getting calls all over the county in reference to the vehicle and possible sightings of Mia,” said Klotz, who added it was another citizen tip that led officers to the open field in the Dinosaur Crossing area. “The response from the citizens was amazing to to get us that quick of a profile. And every agency in the county at that point was looking in multiple areas, and it happened that this was the area that she was in based on a citizen calling, based on our alert systems.”

After Bailey was arrested, investigators continued to comb the open field for additional evidence and allegedly recovered a firearm. Bailey was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane.

This report is based on statements from police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.


Updated 4 p.m., Wednesday, June 19: Added additional details, video.

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