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Manhunt rattles residents, but police presence eases anxiety

Published August 29, 2010 7:27 pm

Eatery owner says alleged cop killer gave her 'the creeps.'
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Kanab • The manhunt along the Utah-Arizona border for suspected cop killer Scott Curley has some residents unnerved and others feeling secure as police Sunday continued door-to-door searches in the area.

Nedra Burchinal, who owns restaurants Nedra's, Too, in Kanab, and Nedra's, in Fredonia, where she lives in the Shiprock Estates subdivision, said police came to her door Sunday morning to check on her safety and ask if they could search her husband's tool shed.

She said the two officers were part of a larger team sweeping through the subdivision. Even though nothing was found, Burchinal said, it was unsettling.

"You don't see that in Fredonia," she said. "It looks like a war zone."

Curley is suspected in the Thursday shooting death of Kane County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Harris.

Burchinal said two days before Harris was killed, Curley came into her restaurant in Kanab for the second day in a row asking for a job as a dishwasher, but he was not hired.

"He was just arrogant and surly," she said. "He gave me the creeps."

Burchinal said she frequently visits the town cemetery where her daughter is buried, but is nervous about making the trip now.

"I'm not able to go there," she said. "I want my town back."

Despite the search, Nick Bartlett, the superintendent of the Fredonia-Moccasin Unified School District, said classes will be held in Fredonia today. The only thing out of the ordinary will be that the students won't be allowed to go outside unless they're traveling between classrooms or going to lunch.

Police "have told us in their opinion it's safe to hold school," Bartlett said. "In their opinion, where the school's located, it's safe."

Receiving a visit from the police has become a new rite of passage for homeowners east of Kanab. Ken and Connie Rogers saw police for the first time Friday morning after there was a reported sighting of Curley near their home. On Friday night, a SWAT team from Phoenix deployed on a ridge behind their home, keeping watch for Curley.

"That gave us a little sense of calm knowing they were all here armed to the teeth," Ken Rogers said.

A SWAT team from Beaver County replaced the Phoenix crew on Saturday. There also have been occasional visits from pairs of other police officers to ensure the Rogers family was OK.

Charlie Saba received his first visit from police Saturday night. Officers arrived while he was playing cards with friends.

On Sunday, Saba pulled up the right side of his shirt to display a holstered pistol.

"They said, 'Carry a gun, keep your door locked, look out the window with binoculars,' " he said.

The police have sometimes been checking outbuildings and travel trailers at the homes outside of Kanab and Fredonia. On Saturday, they started going door-to-door distributing fliers.

Ted and Rita Holtry received their flier, with Curley's mug shot and description, Saturday. Rita Holtry had heard of the search, but the gravity of it did not strike her until the visit and she didnt' sleep well Saturday night.

"We usually go out and walk around," Rita Holtry said, "and we're just like, 'No, I think we'll stay in today.' "

ncarlisle@sltrib.com mhavnes@sltrib.com






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