This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
AMERICAN FORK - After three pregnant teenagers hit their group home director over the head with a frying pan and tied her up, one of them reportedly told the woman, "You're a good person. We just need to do what we need to do."
The teens stole her keys and her van.
That was Tuesday morning - the last time anyone reported seeing the girls.
Police are trying to arrest them for aggravated assault and kidnapping. Spencer Moody, the owner of the group home, whose wife was assaulted by the teens, said Thursday he's worried about the girls' well-being.
"We're just hoping they're found OK," Moody said.
The girls - ages 15 and 16 and from Illinois, Texas and California - are "not real far along" in their pregnancy, Moody said. He and American Fork police on Thursday released few other details about the three and would not disclose their names or photographs.
The teens ran away from the New Hope Maternity Home, a large red brick house at the end of a winding private lane on the north side of American Fork. Moody, 53, and his wife, Jana Moody, have operated the home for about three years, he said, and host pregnant teenagers whose parents want to remove them from friends and other influences. The girls are not locked inside the home.
The home is licensed by the state and provides the teens with a high school curriculum, medical care, parenting lessons and counsels them on adoption, according to its Web site.
Spencer Moody said teens usually arrive after a few weeks of pregnancy and remain at the home until they have given birth at a hospital in Utah Valley.
Choking up, Spencer Moody told reporters Thursday, "We've had a lot of parents call us and thank us for giving their girls back the way they used to be. We haven't had one negative experience with a girl."
The Moodys, who operate the home together, do not accept teens who they think might pose behavior problems, Spencer Moody said, but most girls are not happy to be at the home when they first arrive.
On Tuesday, while Spencer Moody was at his teaching job in Spanish Fork, one of the teens hit Jana Moody over the head with a frying pan, then used electrical cords and duct tape to tie her up, Spencer Moody and police said. They also put a sock in her mouth and wrapped her mouth in duct tape, said American Fork police Sgt. Shauna Greening
The teenagers stole Jana Moody's purse, credit cards, cell phone, video camera and car keys, Greening said.
Spencer Moody said one of the girls told his wife she was a good person before the three left in the van.
Jana Moody was able to free herself. She went upstairs and found another girl, a 17-year-old, who also was tied up, Greening said. Jana Moody freed that teen and began walking to find a telephone.
The group home owner walked to the end of her drive to a trailer that serves as offices for a residential construction business.
"She was pretty emotional," said Brent Wilkinson, who runs the business with his father and brother and was in the trailer when Jana Moody arrived. "She had a lot of adrenaline pumping, but I thought she was very composed, given the circumstances."
Spencer Moody said he and his wife had no indication the teens were planning the attack and escape nor were there any prior confrontations with the girls. He said he believe the teens wanted the van so they could return home.
Greening said the teens might have fled to one of their home states. Police in American Fork have placed alerts with other agencies.
The teens are described as:
* One girl is 15 years old, 5-foot-2, 103 pounds, brown hair, blue-green eyes and a pierced belly button.
* The second girl is also 15 years old, 5-foot-5, 152 pounds, brown hair and eyes, a piercing in each ear, a scar between her eyes and moles on her left leg and back.
* The third girl is 16, about 5 foot 7, 153 pounds, brown hair, green eyes, a piercing in each ear and a scar on her forehead.
Spencer Moody said his wife was not seriously injured. But the couple likely will quit operating their group home.
"After this, we've decided it's the end of it," he said.
Wilkinson's brother, Richard Wilkinson, said he hopes the Moodys continue the home.
"They have a lot to contribute to these young ladies," he said.
* Police are looking for a silver 2005 Dodge Caravan, Utah license plate 128VTX. If you spot the van, call 911.