Report: Artifacts source blamed self for suicides
SALT LAKE CITY — Records show the undercover informant in a federal sting targeting looted Southwestern artifacts told a friend he felt responsible for the suicides of two defendants. Two days later, he killed himself.
Police reports released Thursday in response to a request from The Associated Press say that before Ted Gardiner shot himself in the head in a Salt Lake City suburb March 1, he told the friend he was upset over his involvement in the case.
The sting eventually led to charges against 26 people for stealing and trafficking in American Indian relics taken illegally from public and tribal lands.
Two people, including a prominent southern Utah doctor, committed suicide last June shortly after the indictments were announced.
The records say Gardiner told a friend on Feb. 27 that he had “killed two people” and was suicidal.
Federal prosecutors in Denver are re-evaluating their case against Robert Knowlton, an Orchard Mesa man who was indicted in the investigation, in the wake of Gardiner’s suicide.