Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

Author photo

By Karla Pomeroy

Mountain manhunt ends in 2 arrests


September 23, 2021

TEN SLEEP — A father and son from Sheridan County are facing multiple charges after an altercation with a citizen and a deputy last week.

Cody James Veal (born in 1979) of Story and Niles Wesley Veal (born in 1951) of Sheridan appeared before Fifth Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Ed Luhm on Friday afternoon in Worland, each facing multiple felony and misdemeanor charges from an incident that began the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 14 and ended in the early morning hours of Sept. 15.

The incident began with a call for breach of peace at Leigh Creek Campground, escalated at the Baby Wagon Road area where the Veals eluded arrest and fled in the deputy’s vehicle. The incident ended with the Veals being arrested walking along U.S. 16 near Meadowlark Lake about 2:30 a.m. Sept. 15.

Both men posted $7,500 cash bond following their hearing in Circuit Court and were released. They were ordered to turn over all firearms to the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office within 24 hours. A third-party is allowed to possess Cody’s hunting rifle per bond conditions.

Niles Veal has been charged with five felony counts and could face up to 58 years in prison — escape by violence or while armed, accessory before the fact to escape, aggravated burglary, one count of theft of a Washakie County Sheriff’s Department patrol vehicle and one count of theft of a Browning Auto 5 shotgun. He also has been charged with the four misdemeanors — littering, breach of peace and two counts of interference (one for eluding arrest of himself and one for interfering with the arrest of his son Cody).

Cody Veal has been charged with felony escape from official detention and burglary, facing up to 13 years in prison. He has also been charged with misdemeanor littering, breach of peace and two counts of interference with a peace officer.

The escape by violence, burglary and two theft charges have a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and/or $10,000 fine. The accessory charge and escape from detention each are punishable by up to three years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $3,000. The aggravated burglary charge is punishable by imprisonment of up to 25 years and/or a fine of up to $50,000.


According to an affidavit of probable cause, Washakie County Sheriff Sgt. Michael Oberth was notified by Washakie County Sheriff’s Dispatch at 7:44 p.m. that a patrol deputy, Rob Harding, was in need of “immediate assistance.” The last known location was Canyon Creek camping area, also known as Forest Service Road 422 or the Baby Wagon Road.

In an affidavit of probable cause from Deputy Harding, the initial call he responded to was at 6:10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14. The dispatch center received a 911 call from Leigh Creek Campground that two men were “banging on her camper and yelling.”

As the deputy was en route, he was updated that the subjects had left the area in a white Ford F350.

Deputy Harding spoke to the reporting party at Leigh Creek Campground who said that the Veals allegedly became “irate and confrontational” when asked to pay for the spot where they were parked. The deputy viewed beer cans and other trash strewn around where they had been parked.

Using the picture that the reporting party had taken of the vehicle, the deputy located the vehicle on Forest Road 422/Baby Wagon Road/Canyon Creek camping area. He exited his patrol vehicle and according to the affidavit, said Niles Veal approached him to complain about a crazy person at Leigh Creek Campground.

In visiting with the Veals, and after smelling what he thought was alcohol on them he asked who had been driving and when Cody allegedly admitted to driving, Harding attempted to place him under arrest. Cody Veal allegedly resisted arrest, making it difficult for the deputy to handcuff him while Niles Veal pulled his phone out to film the arrest.

He radioed for assistance and attempted to get Cody, now fully handcuffed into the prisoner cage of the patrol vehicle. Cody Veal he alleged physically resisted while Niles Veal was yelling at the deputy and approaching him and flanking him.

Harding said in the affidavit that he pulled Cody onto the ground and told Niles Veal he was under arrest. Niles Veal allegedly fled at that point. Harding stated in the affidavit that he did not feel a Taser would have any impact through Niles Veal’s coat so he did a leg sweep in an attempt to bring him down and arrest him. The two wrestled and Niles Veal allegedly attempted to bite the deputy several times.

Cody Veal then approached the two and the deputy deployed his Taser with no effect on Cody Veal.

According to the affidavit, Niles Veal convulsed and went limp. The deputy grabbed Cody Veal and was able to get him in the deputy vehicle after telling him he could not help his dad unless he cooperated. The deputy grabbed the AED from his vehicle and when he returned to where Niles Veal had been lying, he discovered Niles was gone.

With his body-worn radio not working in the area, he asked a camper to call 911 and as he rounded the corner of the camper he saw Cody Veal getting in the passenger side of his patrol vehicle and Niles Veal getting in the driver’s side.

According to the Oberth affidavit, Niles Veal told DCI agent that while Harding escorted his son Cody to the deputy’s vehicle Niles Veal retrieved a rifle from one of Veals’ trucks and then “assisted his son, Cody, in getting out of the prisoner cage.”

According to the Harding affidavit, Harding saw that the Veals were “handling the shotgun” and were now armed. As a member of the Regional Tactical Team, Harding knew they also had access to other weapons.

The Veals allegedly were calling out threats to the deputy and made a “three-point turn” to come back toward Harding. He said he saw they were now armed.

“I began engaging the suspects through the windows and body of the pickup with one full magazine while seeking a point of cover, I reloaded and continued engaging the suspects with a second magazine and continued to seek cover in the trees,” Harding wrote in the affidavit.

He said the Veals drove past his position and were westbound on U.S. Highway 16 in his patrol vehicle.

According to Oberth’s affidavit, Harding was located safe and uninjured. The patrol vehicle was later located unoccupied two miles west of where Deputy Harding had been located. During inventory of the vehicle, it was discovered that Harding’s personal 12-gauge shotgun was missing.

Niles Veal, according to the Oberth affidavit, allegedly told a DCI agents that he stashed his rifle and Harding’s shotgun in the woods. Both weapons were recovered about 75 yards away from the patrol vehicle.

Highway 16 was shut down from 9:48 p.m. Sept. 14 to 2:30 a.m. Sept. 15 while law enforcement conducted the search of the Veals.

Washakie County Sheriff Steve Rakness said the Veals were apprehended by Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agents later without incident walking along U.S. Highway 16.

Rakness said DCI was called since Harding had discharged his weapon.

Preliminary hearings have been tentatively set for 3 p.m. Oct. 7 in Worland Circuit Court.


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2023

Rendered 03/26/2023 13:12