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Two Bountiful teenage girls face misdemeanor charges stemming from accusations that they concocted a dramatic but fictional abduction story, claiming falsely that they were grabbed off the street, bound with duct tape and held overnight in Santaquin.
The girls, 16 and 17, were charged last month in 2nd District Juvenile Court, Bountiful police said. Sgt. Troy Killian said he proposed misdemeanor charges of abusing the 911 emergency system and making a false police report. Utah State Courts spokeswoman Nancy Volmer said court rules prevent disclosure of misdemeanor charges in juvenile courts.
On Sept. 9, the teens flagged down a passing car on Santaquin's Main Street and borrowed the motorist's phone to make a breathless 911 call. They told police they were taking a walk near a Bountiful park the night before when kidnappers forced them into a car, where they were held prisoners until their escape the next day. When they flagged down the woman, one of the girls had duct tape on her body.
But as detectives reviewed surveillance footage in Utah County, they found video of the two teens in a Payson convenience store the day they purportedly were being held by the kidnappers. The teens could be seen going into the store, sitting down and eating food taken from a backpack they were carrying. After the girls were confronted with the video, they admitted their abduction report was false, police have said.
The girls took a bus to Payson and to Santaquin, Killian said. They would not disclose the reason for allegedly fabricating the kidnapping, Killian said, but he suspects they may have needed a ride after discovering the bus they took to Santaquin made no return trips until the next day.
"My theory is ... that they took a trip, ended up in Santaquin and couldn't get back," Killian said.
The girls apparently bought the duct tape found on one of them, Killian said.
The mother of one girl told The Tribune last month that when the girls' parents arrived at the Santaquin Police Department, the 16-year-old burst into tears and ran to her mother. The 17-year-old was "frozen," her mother said.
"There was no color in her face," the woman said. "She showed no emotion at all. It was like she was there, but she wasn't there."
The 17-year-old had suffered minor cuts from the knife she was allegedly threatened with, but she required no hospital care, her mother said.
The woman said the girls were recovering but were "still really traumatized," said the 16-year-old's mother, who added that the girls were no longer walking to work or other activities, for fear of someone following them, the mother said.