‘If I can find her, I will kill her’: Man threatened Sandy woman and her son in the days and hours leading up to their death, police investigation shows

(Courtesy of GoFundMe) Memorez Rackley.

Less than four hours before gunning down a Sandy woman and her 6-year-old son on their way home from school, and then turning the gun on himself, Jeremy Patterson sent a foreboding text message to his brother:

“If I can find her, I will kill her. I’m ready to die as well!!! I’ve thought about breaking into her house and killing muselfn (sic).”

A timeline laid out by police reports gathered during a now-completed Sandy Police Department investigation gives a glimpse into Patterson’s thoughts and actions — which he himself described as “twisted” — as he spiraled out of control last June.

Memorez Rackley — who was married but separated from her husband — had been in a romantic relationship with Patterson, 32, for about six months, his brother said told police. The two both loved fitness and shared a personal trainer.

Rackley ended the relationship on June 1.

Jeremy Patterson

The next day, Patterson confronted Rackley and her young son in the parking lot at a nail salon, reports state. He used an expletive to tell Rackley’s son Jase that he had been in a relationship with Rackley.

Patterson also told the boy, “I’m going to kill you,” police records say. When Rackley left the salon, Patterson followed her in his truck and “attempt[ed] to run her off the road,” reports state.

Patterson noticed officers at a nearby traffic stop and left after telling Rackley “he will kill her if she talks to the officers,” reports state.

Hours later at 2 a.m., Patterson posted “nude revenge pictures of Memorez Rackley on her son’s soccer team Instagram page,” reports say. “Jeremy text[ed] Memorez a picture of her children and threatened them harm.”

At about 2:30 a.m., Rackley called 911, saying that Patterson had been harassing her for hours via text message. She told dispatchers about him being at her nail salon unexpectedly the day before, and said Patterson had followed her for nearly an hour while she was driving around Sandy with one of her young sons, police reports said.

“It’s just continual, he won’t stop, and it’s gotten to the point where he’s threatened me, he’s threatened the safety of my children, and I don’t know what to do,” Rackley told a Sandy police dispatcher, according to a recording of a 911 call provided to The Salt Lake Tribune through a records request.

Rackley initially declined to provide authorities with Patterson’s name, and she asked officers not to contact him, “because I worry if they go knock on his door, he’s going to come hunt me and my kids down.”

An officer told Rackley an extra patrol would be added to keep an eye on her home. He also informed her how she could petition for a protective order against Patterson.

About a half-hour after her initial phone conversation with the officer, police responded to the Rackley home, according to the reports. Rackley told officers she thought Patterson had just been at her home and was wiggling the door handle. Police searched the area, but couldn’t find him.

They told Rackley she should stay at a friend’s home until she could obtain the protective order.

On the morning of June 3, Patterson sent text messages to friends saying he’d left Utah to visit Boise because he thought he would hurt Rackley if he stayed in the area, according to the investigation. It is unclear whether Patterson actually left Utah at that point.

On the night of June 3, Rackley called police for the third time to report that Patterson had followed a friend of hers home, apparently looking for Rackley.

Rackley then told police she had changed her mind: She did want police to contact Patterson “to let him know she did not want to see him and that he should not contact her.”

Rackley gave police Patterson’s phone number, and an officer wrote in his report that he soon talked to Patterson, who acknowledged he had been trying to find Rackley. Patterson said they had broken up the day before, and he wanted to talk with her about what happened.

After the officer informed him Rackley didn’t want to hear from him, Patterson told the officer he understood and would stop calling and texting her.

Rackley told police she would get the protective order on June 5, as soon as the courts were open. Court records do not show that a protective order was issued, but police reports say she discussed getting one with legal aid attorneys on June 6, just hours before she was killed.

Also on June 5, Rackley texted a mutual friend of hers and Patterson, telling the friend that Patterson had been threatening and stalking her and her children.

She said, "he literally told me he would put a billet(sic) in the back of my head and kill my kids." The friend told her to go somewhere safe as soon as she could.

Patterson also texted the friend that day. The friend eventually told Patterson he needed to stay away from Rackley.

On June 5, Patterson told his sister and mother that he was “going to kill Memorez, her children then kill himself,” police reports say.

The mother and sister later told police that “Jeremy has a dark side and says things that are really dark sometimes.”

But, the report continues, “As alarming as those statements were, [his sister] was not terribly concerned and said that Jeremy and Memorez were in a ‘passionate relationship.’

“She said, ‘They fight hard, and the[y] love hard,’ ” according to the report. “[His sister] again said that Jeremy told her he really wanted to hurt Memorez and said that killing her sons would ‘really hurt her.’ ”

On June 6 — the day when Patterson and Rackley would die — Patterson sent Rackley a text “apologizing for his behavior, and tells her, ‘You are my sunshine on the darkest days,’ ” according to police records.

Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune Police officers investigate the scene of a shooting Tuesday, June 6, 2017. The shooting occurred at about 3:45 p.m. outside of a residence at about 2175 East and Alta Canyon Drive (about 8630 South), said Sandy police Sgt. Jason Nielsen. Nielsen said the shooter was among the dead and, therefore, there is no threat to the public.

Rackley went to a legal aid office just before noon to discuss a protective order, police records show. Meanwhile, Patterson began texting his brother, a police report shows.

“I’m focused on hurting her. It’s so twisted but I want her to die,” he said in the messages. Patterson then asked if his brother would help “hunt her down,” adding that she “can’t hide forever.”

Patterson’s brother responds by telling him to “move on and [that] nothing is worth killing anybody or himself. He tells Jeremy he isn’t going to get involved but tries to reason with him,” reports say.

At about 12:30 p.m. June 6, an anonymous tipster, who the investigation report identifies as one of Patterson’s longtime female friends, told a Draper officer she had recently received a message from Patterson, who lived in Draper.

Patterson told her he had “snapped,” and couldn’t stop thinking about killing Rackley. He also said he wanted to kill himself after killing her. The friend told Patterson to check himself into a hospital, according to the investigation.

The Draper officer wrote that he checked police databases to obtain more information on Patterson, to no avail. The tipster had said she did not have an address for Patterson, the report said.

“Without an age or address it was unknown who or if there was a problem” with Patterson, the officer wrote.

Rackley left the legal aid office at about 1:30 p.m., police records show.

About two hours later, Rackley and two of her sons — Jase and 11-year-old Myles — were walking on Alta Canyon Drive after school let out at Brookwood Elementary, heading to their home less than a mile away. There, Patterson confronted Rackley in a “heated verbal argument” and attempted to grab her, witnesses told police.

A few minutes later, Rackley flagged down a woman who’d picked up her 8-year-old daughter from school and was driving an SUV.

“May I put my boys in your car for their safety?” she asked the woman, according to police reports. Myles and Jase sat in the back seat with three girls — the driver’s daughters and a friend — who were already in the vehicle.

“Now I’m going to get in your car for my safety,” Rackley said to the SUV driver. Rackley then climbed in, despite Patterson trying to grab her.

At 3:45 p.m., both Rackley and the SUV driver called 911, “but the circuits were busy, reports said. A bystander who saw what was happening also called 911. “She was nervous because 911 wasn’t answering,” the report says.

Patterson briefly drove away in his truck, but soon returned, hitting the front passenger fender of the SUV with his pickup truck, and then blocking the SUV with his vehicle near 2200 East and Alta Canyon Drive (about 8630 South).

Patterson then stepped out of the truck holding a gun, records say, and the SUV driver “yell[ed] for the children to run.”

Patterson fired a shot at the SUV, apparently missed, then walked to the passenger side and fatally shot Rackley once “at point blank range,” a report says.

Patterson then began shooting through the rear passenger window, police said. Three of the children were injured, and Jase — who was shot three times while hiding beneath his backpack — suffered fatal injuries.

A man with CPR training spotted the scene on his way home, and stopped to help. He approached Patterson, who he thought was a police officer, and asked how he could help, according to the investigation report.

Patterson responded with a “blank stare.” The man was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Patterson when Patterson shot himself in the head.

Medical examiners have informed police that “no illicit drugs or alcohol” were found in Patterson’s bloodstream.

Later on the day of the shooting, the Murray gym Rackley frequented posted a sign on the door calling her “our swole sister, who was an amazing mother & friend who loved her children ... We love the Rackley family. Fly high.”

Patterson was an avid bodybuilder who’d won in the men’s physique category at a recent bodybuilding contest in Salt Lake City. He also was a hunter, according to license records.

When Rackley’s brother, Travis Clark, spoke to The Tribune in December, he said he didn’t feel like Sandy Police did enough to keep his sister and nephews safe. He also took issue with how Patterson’s friends and family reacted to his threats.

“If I saw somebody acting that crazy,” Clark said. “I would literally put them on the ground and hold them until the police came, if they were talking that kind of crazy.”

Sandy police Chief Kevin Thacker said a couple weeks after the shooting that because Rackley and Patterson were not co-habitating, it was not considered a “domestic violence” response.

“This case was unique in that under current [2017] Utah law, it is not considered domestic violence,” the chief said at a news conference June 20. “Although, there are certainly similarities to a domestic incident.”

Thacker said his officers provided Rackley with resources and direction “based on her wishes and the information she provided.”

As a result of Rackley’s slaying, Utah lawmakers introduced a bill this year that amends the the state’s domestic violence statute to include someone who “is or was in a consensual sexual relationship with the other party.”

The bill, SB27, was passed by the Senate last week.

Confidential and free resources are available through the Utah Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465). For more information, visit udvc.org.