hostage

Facebook posts during stand-off may lead to charges

June 21, 2011 at 7:35 PM ET

We told you about the man who was holed up in a Utah motel room with a hostage during a 16-hour standoff with police and a SWAT team, and how he posted comments to Facebook during that time.

Some of the suspect's friends were also posting comments to him, and now those people could be arrested and charged with obstruction of justice for hampering a police investigation.

"We're not sure yet how to deal with it," Ogden police Lt. Danielle Croyle told the Associated Press Tuesday.

While Jason Valdez, 36, was in the second-floor room at the motel, he used his cellphone to access Facebook. He was wanted on a felony drug warrant, but refused to come out of the room and for many hours, also refused to let an acquaintance, a woman, go free.

As Valdez posted updates on Facebook while the drama went on, some family members and Facebook friends pleaded with him to do the right thing; others used the social networking site to let Valdez know officers' movements, according to the AP, which reviewed Valdez' Facebook profile page.

For example, at 3:48 a.m. in the morning, almost 11 hours into the standoff, "one of Valdez' friends posted that police had a 'gun ner in the bushes stay low." Valdez thanked him in a reply," the AP said.

Once police finally got into the motel room some hours later, according to the Standard-Examiner and KRIS-TV, Valdez fired at police, then shot himself in the chest. He was taken to an area hospital, where he was in critical condition.

Those in Utah aren't amused by Valdez' use of Facebook. In a column for the Standard-Examiner, "The social network goes anti-social in hostage drama," Charles F. Trentelman wrote about Valdez: "Last I heard, he's still alive. No doubt, he'll be back on Facebook as soon as he can."

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