SAN JUAN COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – A Ute Mountain tribe member has been charged by a federal grand jury for the alleged murder of a 5-year-old child who was kidnapped in San Juan County on May 9, 2022.
Qwana McCook, 28, of White Mesa, was charged on June 22 with kidnapping while within Indian Country, first-degree felony murder while within Indian Country, robbery while within Indian Country, and first-degree felony murder within Indian Country, court records state.
According to a complaint filed by federal prosecutors, McCook and 22-year-old Augustus Yellow of White Mesa allegedly approached a truck with two children inside of it that was warming up in front of a home.
The mother of the two children in the car went back inside the home to say goodbye to a relative when the older of the two children ran into the home to warn the mother that McCook and Yellow were allegedly stealing the truck.
The mother ran outside and confronted McCook telling him that her 5-year-old child was still in the backseat. McCook allegedly assaulted the mother of the children by striking her in the face when she tried to stop him.
Both men allegedly drove off with the child in the car and their whereabouts were unknown for two and half hours until the rollover of the truck was reported near Cohone Mesa in the Navajo Nation.
When officials arrived on the scene, the two men were in the car, the child had been ejected during the crash, and was pronounced dead on the scene.
Yellow pleaded guilty to the felony charge of misprision of kidnapping the child involved in the fatal accident. McCook is currently being held in custody pending trial.