The Justice Files: Was killer of former police officer someone close to home?

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SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – It was an ambush type murder that claimed the life of Kevin Meik.

A search warrant from 2014 revealed that Meik, a retired Salt Lake City police officer, died from blunt force trauma to the head and a gunshot that entered his shoulder and traveled through his neck and head.

“It was a lot of rage and it was personal,” said Meik’s close friend Laura Beckstead.

It’s now considered a cold case murder but Sandy police said the investigation remained active.

Beckstead was also a member of the Salt Lake City police department and became friends with Meik.

In 2014, she said she got a call from Meik’s daughter who was worried because she had not heard from him.

“I went up to the house and found his dog Tasha outside running back and forth from one gate to another,” Beckstead recalled.

A call to 911 brought Sandy police to the scene at 9032 S. Waters Circle (1515 East). When police arrived, Beckstead said they asked her husband if he knew how to get into the house. He obliged and entered through a back door in an effort to unlock the front door for police.

While inside the home, John Irwin saw Meik lying on the ground.

“I went inside and I walked all the way over to where that gate was to go downstairs, Irwin said. “And I leaned over and you can see his feet in the bedroom downstairs.

He quickly left and contacted the police who were outside. It’s a sore spot with Beckstead, herself a former member of law enforcement.

“You don’t let someone else go into a crime scene before police go in and check it out,” she said.

In 2014, Meik recently returned from Arizona having lived there following his retirement. Beckstead and her husband allowed him to stay at their home while he looked for a permanent place to live.

“He never said anything that would lead us to believe he was in trouble,” she said.

She was aware of how Meik was killed but never spoke publicly until this interview with ABC4.

“Here you have this kind man who has done nothing and doesn’t deserve to be murdered in the brutal way that he was murdered,” she said.

Originally, Sandy police said it was a suicide but changed the manner of death after receiving the medical examiner’s report. They also claimed there wasn’t any sign of a break-in.

Another clue may be with Meik’s dog who according to Beckstead and Irwin the german shepherd wasn’t friendly with strangers.

“It had to be someone that knew the dog that could get past Tasha because Tasha again, was a one-person dog,” said Beckstead. “And Tasha would not let someone in with Kevin that he didn’t know.”

Irwin also became suspicious after going inside Meik’s home and noticed a gate had been set in place blocking anyone from going downstairs. That’s where Meik’s body was.

“It had to be somebody that knew the guy to put the gate back up,” Irwin said.

“If they were there to do harm they’d get in and get out. They wouldn’t take the time to put the gate back up.”

Meik’s friends claimed there have been persons of interest that have been questioned by police. A spokesman for Sandy police wouldn’t elaborate.

“There has been a lot of investigation that has been involved, people, yes,” said Neilsen. “But I can’t go into who or when or where.”

He did acknowledge that family members were questioned but he said that is routine in a murder investigation.

“We look at it from every angle,” he said.

In 2019, Meik’s granddaughter appeared on ABC4 in an effort to raise awareness of the unsolved murder.

“They have to have some kind of answers,” said Cecelia Sargent last year. “It’s been five-years. There’s gotta be some new leads, somewhere.”

And now it’s six-years since Meik died. Beckstead, like Sargent, is frustrated with the police investigation. Both question whether Sandy police have been doing a thorough investigation.

“That has been my biggest concern with Sandy PD,” Beckstead said. “In my time with the police department anyone that was a brother in blue that was priority one. You didn’t let it turn into a cold case. You worked it.”

Sgt. Neilsen said that it has technically turned into a cold case but it still remains active.

“It’s not like on a shelf collecting dust, he said. “We’ve consulted with outside resources. It gives us another set of eyes and we will do it again soon.”

He urged anyone with information to contact their department at 801-799-3000.

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