Teen Disappeared From His California Home in September 2019. Nevada Trooper’s Bodycam Helped Find Him
Author: Nevada Globe Staff
Connerjack Oswalt, 17, went from his California home in September 2019. His family never stopped looking for him.
The family searched relentlessly, putting out posters and trying to find him on social media, The Associated Press reported earlier this year.
Gerald Flint, his stepfather, claimed at the time, “We’d follow up on any hints”
Nevada State Police tapes show how a trooper’s stormy 2021 interaction with a “John Doe” during a pedestrian stop on I-15 helped solve Oswalt’s case.
Las Vegas Review-Journal bodycam video and law enforcement documents reveal Nevada trooper Chris French spotted an unidentified young guy on I-15 near Goodsprings on Oct. 19, 2021, 25 months after Oswalt went missing.
French wrote in an arrest report that he approached the pedestrian because he feared for his safety as 18-wheelers and cars passed just feet away.
French tells the man to stop and chat, but he’s ignored.
French says in the tapes, “Stop and talk to me or we’ll have problems.”
French says, “Talk to me like a man and respect your elders.”
The scenario worsens. The unidentified man rushes into the desert, picks up a rock and tosses it at the trooper’s head as French pursues with his Taser ready, saying “I will tase you dude … “Get down or I’ll tase you!”
French used his Taser twice without success. Without anyone being significantly wounded, the video shows the pedestrian as he is handcuffed and forced to the ground. The man acknowledges throwing a rock at the trooper but says, “I was just trying to distract you pal” and wants to be left alone to walk along the interstate.
French nabbed a “John Doe” He provided the trooper with three different names: Conner Jack, Conner Stray and Conner Oswalt with two different birthdates. Authorities could not quickly establish his identity.
“John Doe” was charged with assault on a protected person and attempted battery.
Goodsprings Justice Court records list him as “Conner Oswald.” The young man had mental health concerns or a developmental disability, therefore he was sent for a competency exam.
In Goodsprings, 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas, he pleaded no contest to two assault misdemeanors. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but indicates a guilty result is likely if the matter were to proceed to trial.
“Conner Oswald” was given a $500 fine or 50 hours of community service and a six-month suspended jail sentence. A bench warrant for “Conner Oswald” was issued Feb. 22.
Nevada officials never realized that the John Doe charged as “Conner Oswald” was Conner Jack Oswalt, despite a missing persons report. When he went missing, his fingerprints weren’t entered into a police database that’s checked anytime a John Doe is detained in Las Vegas, police said.
On April 9, deputies with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office in Utah found an unnamed guy shivering outside a convenience store in Park City. Lt. Andrew Wright said deputies convinced the man to get in their car.
They got a match with his fingerprint. He was wanted out of Goodsprings as “Conner Oswald.” An attentive dispatcher examined internet missing people reports, saw the match in names, and officials swiftly established “Oswald” was Conner Jack Oswalt.
His parents reunited with him in a beautiful story that made national news.
“I searched for him constantly. His mother, Suzanne Flint, never stopped looking for him.
Wright said they don’t know where Oswalt is and his family hasn’t commented.
“We never heard what happened to Connerjack,” Wright said Thursday. “We hope his family is okay.”
Nevada law prohibits walking on interstates like I-15, which Oswalt was doing when French stopped him.
“Every case can be very different; troopers would need to evaluate if the individual is in a situation where they might do injury to themselves or to the motoring public, if the individual is in distress, or if they are travelling on foot,” Nevada State Police spokeswoman Kim Smith said. “The trooper’s priority in these situations is the public’s safety.”
Smith said the Highway Patrol trains troopers to deal with people with mental illness or, in Oswalt’s case, autism.
Smith said all troopers and officers attend annual continuing education classes. Classes cover mental illness, crisis intervention, and PTSD. The Department seeks improved training for police officers.
Smith said the agency reviews use-of-force instances like Oswalt’s often. She stated Oswalt’s tasering review results are confidential.
French wasn’t available, Smith said.
Credits: Review Journal
Copyright 2022 775 Times, NV Globe. All rights reserved.
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