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A mother accused of shooting her son to death in a Utah canyon last week survived after turning the gun on herself, then allegedly drove around with the dead boy’s corpse for several hours, according to officials.
Valerie Peck survived two self-inflicted gunshot wounds then tried to “freeze herself to death” after gunning down her 2-year-old son, Zack, in his car seat on Dec. 14, the Desert News reported. Peck then drove around with the boy's corpse in her vehicle for “several hours,” officials said.
On that Monday, the 40-year-old took her toddler to a camping site of a Utah interstate in Dry Fork Canyon, according to the Uintah County Sheriff's Office. That's where police say she shot her boy dead.
"[Peck] placed her 2-year-old son into the vehicle where she shot him with the .22 rifle in his car seat," according to the indictment obtained by WOAI-TV.
The mother later turned the rifle on herself, firing two rounds. Authorities found her and the boy’s dead body in the woman’s vehicle off an interstate in Uintah County’s Fantasy Canyon after receiving several 911 calls.
Peck was briefly hospitalized and taken into custody. She was booked into a Uintah County jailhouse, the Desert News reports, and has been charged with aggravated murder and child abuse.
“The sheriff’s office extends its most sincere condolences to all who knew and loved Zack,” police said in a statement.
Investigators allege that Peck made plans to “commit the act,” according to an arrest affidavit, the Desert News reported.
In July, Peck was charged with trespassing at a Utah hospital. According to records, her husband called the court to say he believed she was battling mental illness at the time of the trespassing, the paper reported. She pleaded no contest to the charges in September.
Prosecutors have requested Peck be held without bail in the shooting death of her son, according to the Desert News.
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