Samuel Rappylee Bateman, 46, of Colorado City, Arizona, was arrested on Tuesday in Colorado City for charges returned by a federal grand jury on September 6, 2022. The indictment charges Bateman with Destruction of Records or an Attempt to Destroy Records in an Official Proceeding; Tampering or Attempting to Tamper with an Official Proceeding; and Destruction of Records in a Federal Investigation.
The indictment alleges that on August 28, 2022, Bateman destroyed or attempted to destroy records, by deleting or aiding and abetting others to delete, electronic communications associated with Signal accounts. Signal is an encrypted messaging application. The indictment further alleges that Bateman did so in order to obstruct, influence, and impede an investigation and prosecution in federal court. A conviction for each of these crimes carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.
Bateman had his initial appearance yesterday before United States Magistrate Judge Camille D. Bibles in Flagstaff, Arizona.
The Phoenix Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is handling the investigation. The United States Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Phoenix, is handling the prosecution. The United States Attorney’s Office would like to extend special gratitude to the Arizona Department of Child Safety for its work protecting Arizona children impacted by this matter, as well as the Colorado City Marshal’s Office, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and the St. George resident agency of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office for their assistance in this matter.