Derrick Broze shares a behind-the-scenes look at how the 2-part investigation Justice Delayed came to be.
In early June I began writing what would eventually become a 5-part series focused on allegations of sexual abuse in Utah. My initial report was sparked by the Utah County Sheriff’s announcement of an investigation into “ritualized child sexual abuse”.
Throughout my series I examined the various elements of the Sheriff’s investigation, including potential suspects (here too), previous claims of ritual abuse in Utah, and the curious case against Utah County Attorney David Leavitt. I also explored the accusations of ritual abuse of children relating to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), commonly known as the Mormon Church.
While patiently waiting for updates from the Utah County Sheriff’s office concerning the focus of their investigation, I began to receive numerous tips from people all over the United States who had previously lived in Utah, or formerly been involved with the LDS.
As is typical for a journalist in my shoes, there were more claims and clues than I could follow at one time. So, I chose to focus on one particular piece of information that was sent to me. (Don’t worry, I will be investigating these other claims!)
I narrowed my investigation to the research of two VHS tapes a source mentioned I might be interested in. I received the following email:
I have a VHS tape of interviews with witnesses who claimed to have attended parties in SLC with many high level officials in the early 1990’s including the then president of the Mormon church, Gordon B Hinkley. I have not viewed the tape in over 30 years and I don’t recall details.
There was also discussion of another tape with a man sharing the details of what he knew regarding the allegations against former Mormon Church President Gordon B. Hinckley.
I was curious so I agreed to receive the tapes and see what may come out of it.
It’s at this point that I should probably tell you about my journalistic experience with synchronicity. (Feel free to disregard this as total “woo-woo hippy bullsh*t” if you prefer.)
Starting with my documentary on Jeffrey Epstein in the summer of 2018, and continuing with my investigation into the Finders cult in October 2018 and on, I began to experience what I can only describe as “synchronicity”. What I mean is I would have situations where information I had been seeking (or not seeking) or names and locations of important people would quite literally fall into my lap.
More specifically, I would find that as I am researching some obscure angle of the case, I discover a nugget of truth, or simply another piece of background information to build my case would appear, seemingly out of nowhere. This happened several times over the last few years.
This synchronicity happened on more than one occasion during the Justice Delayed investigation.
For example, those tapes we’re going to be sent to me, but I live in Mexico. It would take months for the tapes to arrive and there would be no guarantee they wouldn’t be damaged on the way. Instead, I asked Ryan (Founder of The Last American Vagabond where I write) if he might be able to receive the tapes and hold onto them until I could make it back to the U.S. to dive into them and see about digitizing them.
Ryan agreed to receive the tapes and also informed me that a friend owned a company that could actually digitize the VHS tapes for us! What are the chances?? I don’t know, but nonetheless I found it encouraging and saw it as a good sign as we began a dive into a new rabbit hole.
Once I received digital copies of the tapes I had to mentally prepare myself to spend hours and days and weeks in this dark, mucky, disturbing area of research. Epstein and The Finders showed me how dark it could get, but it’s never easy, no matter how many victims statements you force yourself to consume.
Once I dove into the tape titled The True Story of Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley , I began by taking down the name of every person who spoke in the video or who was mentioned. I also made note of locations, dates and times, and any other item of interest. The questions I am asking myself at this point include: Do they mention other cases? Names? Do they drop clues in anyway?
I put all the data points I had into a document so I could start to make sense of it. I watched the second recording, which includes the interviews with Darryl Clegg, a witness to the investigation into Gordon B. Hinckley. With this tape I took a similar approach, but immediately I saw some clues which I could dive further into.
For example, when Darryl Clegg is providing his testimony I noticed he was speaking with at least two men in the room. One of them states his name at the beginning of the video, the other is only mentioned by his first name. After some digging and talking with the source who sent the videos I was able to narrow down who the men are and seek them out for additional background information on the situation.
Once I collected all the names, dates, and locations into my document the hunt was on! I spent weeks tracking people down, making phone calls, sending emails, and having conversations with various sources involved in this story.
Unfortunately, many of the people involved in the original video are now dead and cannot expand upon whatever information they may have had. Also, the accused – Gordon B. Hinckley and Walton Hunter – are both dead. This makes the investigation incredibly difficult.
Speaking of Walton Hunter, let me tell you about one more synchronicity which led to the 2nd part of Justice Delayed.
As I was preparing to write the investigation surrounding the tape and accusations against Gordon B. Hinckley I decided to watch the tape one more time, to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, and search for any final leads. And that’s exactly what happened.
I had somehow missed the fact that the men who owned the car lot where much of the abuse is alleged to have taken place – The Hunter brothers, Alvin and Walton – were also involved in the LDS church. In fact, in the video it was mentioned that Walton Hunter was a bishop in the church! This meant that there would be a record of him and potentially a chance to dig further into the accusations against him.
As I searched for additional information about Walton Hunter I found his obituary. This is always a potential “dead end” when your leads are deceased. The only option after this is to seek out still-living family members who might have something to add.
So I looked up Walton’s daughters who were mentioned in the obituary and discovered that one of his daughters – Deborah Hunter-Marsh – wrote a book about her father titled Deliver Us From Evil. Hunter-Marsh’s book is a harrowing tale of rape and mental abuse at the hands of her father, Walton Hunter – the same man accused of participating in sex parties with Gordon B. Hinckley and young boys!
This is where the synchronicity began.
I started looking for a contact number or email for Deborah Hunter-Marsh to speak to her about her book, her father, and the tape about Gordon B. Hinckley. As I checked out her Amazon reviews I happened to notice that a friend of mine – from back in Houston where I am originally from – had left a review of Deliver Us From Evil! Further, when I checked out Hunter-Marsh’s LinkedIn page the same friend who left the review was a mutual friend! What are the chances??
After speaking with my friend I confirmed that she had spoken with Deborah Hunter-Marsh in 2016. Eventually, I was able to speak to her myself and tell her about my investigation and my small effort to help boost her voice and experience.
What do the synchronicities mean? Coincidence? Confirmation Bias? Pattern Recognition? I don’t know, but I choose to take it as a positive sign that I am on the right path.
Thanks for supporting my efforts while I investigate these dark paths of humanity and seek to bring justice to the victims.