Derrick Saggboy just wants some answers.
After someone allegedly assaulted him and left him for dead last week, the 34-year-old Moab resident is hoping that people will come forward with information that could help investigators apprehend a suspect.
“If anybody knows anything, just let the police know,” he said.
Moab City Police Chief Mike Navarre said he can’t comment on the specifics of the case, but he said that his office is actively looking into the incident.
“We’re working on it again today,” he told the Moab Sun News on Wednesday, March 16. “There’s a person assigned to it exclusively.”
Saggboy was walking home along the Mill Creek pathway some time before midnight on Tuesday, March 8. He had been drinking alcohol earlier that night, so he said he was not alert when he approached the Mill Creek pathway underpass at 300 South, and an assailant knocked him unconscious, fracturing his left cheek bone.
“I think I just got unexpectedly jumped, and bam – someone knocked me out,” he said.
Saggboy said he woke up several hours later lying face-down on the concrete near the Moab Bark Park.
Right away, he said, he knew that something was seriously wrong with him: His left eye was swollen shut, and he had trouble seeing. But he had no idea just how badly injured he was until he arrived at a relative’s house at about 3 a.m. early the next morning.
A man who asked not to be identified said that he and his roommate were awakened by the sound of someone knocking on the door. The man’s first thought was that the person on the other side was drunk and belligerent, so he said he didn’t want to talk to anyone.
His roommate opened the door, anyway, and when the man heard someone yelling, “Get him to the hospital,” he rushed out to see what the commotion was all about.
“There was blood all over his face,” the man said. “I didn’t recognize who he was – he looked like Quasimodo.”
While another relative started a car to take him to the hospital, Saggboy caught his first glimpse of himself in the mirror.
“He went into the bathroom and started crying,” the man said. “He said, ‘I can’t feel my face.’”
Relatives rushed Saggboy to Moab Regional Hospital. From there, he was transported to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction, Colorado, because medical staffers feared he would have to undergo reconstructive facial surgery.
Although his brain and left eye were hemorrhaging when he first arrived at the hospital, Saggboy did not sustain a concussion, and he said the surgery ultimately turned out to be unnecessary.
“It’s not to the point where it needs to be surgically repaired,” he said.
After seven hours at St. Mary’s, Saggboy returned to the home he shares with his parents, where he was kept under close observation for the next 24 hours.
One week later, his relative said that Saggboy is still at home most of the time because he’s reluctant to go anywhere.
“He’s afraid to leave the house,” the man said.
Saggboy, who cleans rooms at a local hotel, said his employers gave him some time off as he recuperates. In the meantime, he said he is struggling to understand what happened that night.
“I’m frustrated because I don’t know the answer,” he said.
With no leads to go on, he doesn’t know if it was a random criminal act, or if someone specifically targeted him because of his race or his sexual orientation.
“My personal feeling is it was (maybe) because I’m Native American – maybe because I’m gay,” he said.
But he could just be speculating at this point, he said.
“Maybe I was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said. “I just don’t know.”
A relative of Saggboy’s said that whoever attacked him left a shoe print on his face, fueling a sense of uneasiness in his mind.
“Everybody I hang out with, I look at their shoes,” the man said. “It could be a friend; it could be a neighbor; it could be anybody.”
Saggboy said he told police about a person of interest in the case – an acquaintance of his who allegedly body-slammed him to the ground on an earlier occasion.
Shortly before last week’s incident, Saggboy was hanging out with a friend at Swanny City Park when the acquaintance appeared out of nowhere and startled them, Saggboy said.
“There was an individual that I did not want to associate with who kind of creeped up on us at the park,” he said. “I just said, ‘Stay away.’”
Saggboy said he feared that the man may have been stalking them, and because he had a bad feeling about him, he was determined to get home as quickly as possible. After he left the park, he said he doesn’t remember seeing anyone else in the short time before he approached the underpass at 300 South.
“Everything was fine up until then,” he said. “And then I was like, ‘I’ve just got to get home.’ That’s the last thing I remember.”
According to Saggboy’s relative, there were no signs of a robbery that night: The man said that none of Saggboy’s personal belongings were missing.
“If it had been a robbery, his phone would have been gone,” the man said.
Both Saggboy and his relative said they’re concerned that police aren’t listening to them, alleging that authorities were slow to take photos of his injuries, or act on tips they received. But Navarre said he isn’t sure where they’re coming from, and reiterated that his office is committed to solving the case.
“He’s a victim, absolutely, and we’re working to get this resolved,” Navarre said.
Saggboy said it should be clear to anyone that he was assaulted.
“I didn’t just fall and break my face,” he said. “It’s a crime either way. Someone obviously beat me to the point that I was unconscious and just left me there … Obviously, someone’s out there that did this to (me) and they’re still on the loose.”
While he’s making a quick recovery from his physical injuries, he said he’s still trying to process what happened to him that night.
“Emotionally, I’m all over the place,” he said.
Fortunately, his friends said, temperatures that night were relatively mild, so he didn’t freeze to death while he was unconscious.
“They said I’m pretty lucky to even be alive,” he said.
If you have any information about the incident, contact the Moab City Police Department at 435-259-8938.
Potential witnesses urged to contact police with any tips
Someone obviously beat me to the point that I was unconscious and just left me there … Obviously, someone’s out there that did this to (me) and they’re still on the loose.