During the early morning hours of 12/06/2021, the Baca County Sheriff’s Office began investigating a shooting that occurred south of the Town of Vilas in a remote area of the
county. The victim, identified as Celsa Charette, ultimately died as a result of the shooting incident. Between 12/06/2021 and 04/25/2022, the Baca County Sheriff’s Office has devoted hundreds of hours to this case as well as drafting and serving approximately 18 separate search warrants relating to this case. Sheriff Shiplett and deputies have processed well over 20,000 pages of records and large volumes of video as well as other types of evidence. On April 25, 2022 the Baca County Sheriff’s Office obtained an arrest warrant for Brandi Utley, who was arrested shortly thereafter, on charges of murder in the first degree and domestic violence. The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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