St. George Police officer recognized for ‘amazing’ detective work in solving rape case

L-R: City Manager Adam Lenhard, Detective Josh Wilson, Police Chief Richard Farnsworth and Mayor Jon Pike at City Hall for the "Brighter Side" award presentation, St. George, Utah, Feb. 7, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the city of St. George, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A St. George Police officer is among several city employees to have received recognition for going above and beyond the call of duty.

During a public meeting at City Hall Thursday evening, St. George Police Detective Josh Wilson was honored with the city’s “Brighter Side” award for his work solving a case of brutal sexual assault perpetrated against a woman last spring.

Wilson’s investigation into the assault that took place in a residence in downtown St. George in April 2018 led to the arrest of 32-year-old Spencer Glen Monnett in July 2018.

Monnett allegedly entered the home through an unlocked door and raped the 79-year-old woman who lived there. He has since pleaded guilty to first-degree felony object rape and burglary.

“Josh really took this case personal, and he actually really went way above and beyond,” St. George Police Chief Richard Farnsworth said during the award presentation. “He befriended this family, he did countless canvasses around the neighborhood – interviews, all kinds of stuff.”

Police Chief Richard Farnsworth, left, recognizes Detective Josh Wilson, right, for extraordinary investigative work during an award presentation at City Hall, St. George, Utah, Feb. 7, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Community Education Channel, St. George News

Wilson collected DNA evidence at the scene of the crime and submitted it to the Utah State Crime Lab for analysis. While the results produced a DNA profile, there was nothing in the state database to compare it to.

Undeterred by the inconclusive results, Wilson contacted independent DNA lab Parabon NanoLabs and sent the evidence for additional analysis, an unprecedented step for the St. George Police Department.

“We’ve never done this before,” Farnsworth said. “It was way outside the box for us.”

The DNA lab produced four possible suspects, and after investigating the individuals, Wilson narrowed in on Monnett, a former Hurricane resident.

“He had left the area and was no longer living in the state, so Josh called him and in his way that Josh works, he was able to convince him to come back to the state to meet with the detectives on a completely unrelated police matter,” Farnsworth said. “And once he got here, Josh had him. He obtained a full confession and closed this case with a felony arrest and brought closure to this family.

“It was a really amazing job done, and we’re very proud of him and think he’s very deserving of this award.”

Wilson was presented with a plaque and received an ovation from a packed audience.

Congratulating Wilson and the rest of the Police Department’s team of detectives, Councilman Jimmie Hughes said:

Those guys really have a passion. … So take note, if you’re coming here to perform some kind of criminal act, just know you’re probably not going to get away with it, because those guys are good. They’ll do whatever it takes, including going above and beyond and look outside the box, and that’s what we love about them, so thanks to them.

Wilson was one of seven people Thursday to receive the “Brighter Side” distinction, an internal award presented to a handful of city employees biannually.

“The purpose of this program is to recognize employees who go above and beyond in the performance of their duties,” City Manager Adam Lenhard said. “These are people who have truly contributed to the achievement of our mission, goals and values.”

The other six employees chosen from various city departments were as follows:

  • Chad Moultrie
  • Christina Fernandez
  • Deanna Brklacich
  • Gary Flowers
  • Nikki Miller Heaton
  • Susan Allen

“These people represent the best of the best, and we’re so proud to have them all,” Lenhard said.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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