A false accusation of sexual assault turned deadly last month in Utah when a teen girl’s brother sought vengeance over the claim of sexual assault that never was.
A 16-year-old girl, whose identity has not been revealed because she’s a minor, told her 17-year-old brother that Michael Fife, 62, sexually assaulted her on a Cache Valley Transit District (CVTD) bus. The 17-year-old tracked down Fife and physically attacked him when he got off the bus; wounds from the altercation left him dead.
According to Logan Police Department, reviewed surveillance footage from the bus revealed that the alleged assault never happened.
“On April 23, 2019, at approximately 3:30 pm a 16-year-old female reported being sexually assaulted by a 62-year-old male while on the CVTD bus. The man was later identified as Michael Fife. The female immediately called her 17-year-old brother and told him of the sexual assault. Minutes later, the female’s 17-year-old brother located Mr. Fife getting off the bus near 300 South 100 West, in Logan,” read a press release from the Logan City Police Department. “The brother ran towards Mr. Fife and assaulted him. Mr. Fife fell to the sidewalk and suffered head injuries. Mr. Fife was left unconscious, lying on the sidewalk, while his assailant fled the scene on foot.”
“Kind of a linebacker-type charge toward the gentleman, knocking him down,” recalled Logan Department Chief Gary Jensen, according to Fox13Now. “This is an absolutely horrible event.”
The press release continued: “At 6:15 pm the 16-year-old female called police to report the sexual assault on the bus. Logan Police detectives reviewed the video footage of the alleged sexual assault. The video showed Mr. Fife walking past the girl, but no sexual assault occurred.”
The police department noted that Fife succumbed to his injuries on April 27.
Jensen called the case “unique and difficult” and noted that vigilante justice would still be wrong if the accusation were true.
“We have a justice system,” he said. “We don’t do vigilante justice. We certainly appreciate it if we could do our job.”
“I don’t even know why he was being hit,” said Fife’s only child, Michael Fife Jr. “Something definitely needs to be done because this stuff can’t happen. I mean, especially over an allegation.”
“He cared a lot about people,” he added. “He always greeted them with a smile and he was always a kind person to them.”
Fife Jr. commented on the press release from the Logan City Police Department via Facebook: “Thank you all for the kind words and thoughts. My father wasnt [sic] a perfect man, but he didn’t deserve this. I hope justice will be served.”
A GoFundMe page has been created to pay for Fife’s funeral costs. “I am asking for donations to help lay Michael Andrew Fife to rest,” says the GoFundMe, adding: “He leaves behind his only child Michael Andrew Fife II (Mike). The financial burden of this unforeseen act of violence, falls to Mike. Mike is currently not in the best of situations and cannot afford to lay his dad to rest without a little help. All donations will go to Michael Andrew Fife II to settle the cost of hospital bills, cremation, and entering into a burial plot.”