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Former BLM manager charged with child-sex crimes dead in apparent suicide

5-28-2010 Utah:

Kanab » Rex Lee Smart, an ex-manager of the Kanab field office for the Bureau of Land Management awaiting trial for alleged sex crimes against children, has died of an apparent suicide.

Kanab police chief Tom Cram said Friday that officers with Kanab police and Kane County Major Crimes Task Force went to Smart's house Thursday in Kanab to serve an arrest and search warrant related to allegations of witness tampering.

When told police were there to arrest him, Smart went into an adjacent room saying he was getting his shoes. Once in the room Smart accessed a handgun and shot himself once. Smart was taken to the Kane County Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police would not immediately say where Smart shot himself, nor would they detail was, specifically, the witness-tampering charges -- both third-degree felonies -- involved or what they were looking for at Smart's home.

On May 17, Smart, 62, was charged with a single count of aggravated sex abuse of a child, a first-degree felony, and two counts of sex abuse of a child, both second-degree felonies.

According to court documents, the alleged crimes occurred on July 6, 2007.

Smart was issued a summons on those charges and told to voluntarily get booked at the county jail before his June 3 initial appearance on the charges, but he was not jailed.

Earlier, Smart had been charged and was due to be tried on one charge of rape of a child, six counts of child sex abuse of a child and two counts of sodomy on a child, all first-degree felonies.

Those alleged crimes occurred between June 2005 and September 2006 and involve a girl who was 9 during the time the first count of sex abuse occurred.

Those charges were filed in 2007. Smart was scheduled to stand trial on the charges next month.

An investigation into the apparent suicide is ongoing by the Kanab police and state medical examiner's office. ..Source.. by Mark Havnes

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