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CLEARFIELD - The maroon Honda Accord still lay one foot from the house it bounced off of, its front end smashed, its air bags deployed.

The home's owner, Doug Mahlstede, went outside to see if the car's occupant was all right.

"I asked him what his name was," Mahlstede said. "And he started rambling on about what he had done."

The teen allegedly confessed to Mahlstede that he had just raped and killed someone.

A few minutes later, officers found Rachel Elton at Youth Health Associates, a home for troubled youths, about a block away.

Elton - a 22-year-old Weber State University student and an employee of the home - had been stabbed and sexually assaulted. She later died.

The teenager, whose name was not released, was taken to a hospital after the crash and was in police custody Thursday.

"The complete motive for this vicious and senseless act is unknown," police said in a news release. The suspect may have been infatuated with the victim, police said.

The youth home contracts with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS). It is an ordinary-looking one-story brick home with white trim and a carport located in a neighborhood at 396 Marilyn Ave.

Chris Hughes, one of the home's owners, said female staff are not to be alone with the boys at the home, but on Wednesday a male employee was stuck in the snow and was late.

The house is a residential facility for boys, or "clients," who are referred to them by DCFS, said Hughes. The clients are expected to go to school or work, but can otherwise come and go as they wish, he said, and a staff member is always present at the home.

Hughes said the home is not meant to care for violent people.

"Obviously we didn't know him as well as we thought we did," Hughes said.

Police first learned of the incident at 10:44 p.m. Wednesday when a car hit Mahlstede's house. Mahlstede - who said he and his wife and three kids moved here from California three months ago largely to escape the crime- reported hearing a loud bang and felt his house shake.

Mahlstede and his brother-in-law went outside to see that the car had failed to maneuver the curve in the road, ran through shrubs, hit a tree and the house, denting and cracking the brick exterior.

Sharon Hildebrandt, who lives next door to the youth home, said the boys at the home have never caused trouble.

"There was one or two that was really nice [and] waved," she said.

Hughes said Elton "cared a great deal about her work, a great deal about the people she served."

Elton's grandmother, Beverly Elton, said Rachel took the job at the group home to pay her tuition at WSU, where she planned to graduate this year with a degree in criminal justice.

"She was a wonderful, caring person. She had a desire to do well at anything she did," Beverly Elton said.

Rachel Elton graduated from Tooele High School. She played tennis and the flute for the school band.

Her funeral is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday.


Tribune reporter Elizabeth Neff contributed to this story.