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BOUNTIFUL — Two teens who were kidnapped last week and escaped 19 hours later in Santaquin were beaten, cut with a knife and threatened with their lives, the girls’ mothers said Tuesday.
“It was hard for me to see her like that, with all of the bruises and the cuts,” one mom said of her 17-year-old daughter. “She won’t go anywhere without me and she doesn’t want me to leave her home alone.”
The mothers spoke to KSL News on condition they would not be identified, and expressed fears the suspects may come to their houses to strike again — even though the girls were abducted away from their homes.
“We’re pursuing all avenues of protection at this point,” the mother of the 16-year-old victim said. “We’re putting in a new alarm system and locks. Nobody goes outside by themselves.”
The girls themselves are still too traumatized to speak publicly about what happened, their parents said.
“She doesn’t go to her bedroom by herself,” the 16-year-old’s mom said. “She panics when we’re even at a fast-food restaurant and she’s too far from me.”
The mothers said the teens were staying together last week when they went for a 2 a.m. walk to see some of the city lights and the valley view.
When the girls neared Tolman Park, a red SUV approached and the occupants asked the girls if they wanted a ride. When the teens said no, the mothers said two men got out, beat the girls and forced them into the rear of the vehicle.
The mothers said the girls had their wrists and mouths duct-taped.
“If they moved, if they made a sound — they were threatened and told they were going to be killed,” the mother of the 16-year-old said.
The 16-year-old suffered “head-to-toe” bruises, the mothers said. The 17-year-old had multiple lacerations in addition to some bruising.
The teens, according to their parents, had a blurry recollection of everything that happened over the subsequent 19 hours in captivity before they escaped in Santaquin, but they said the vehicle made multiple extended stops and one of the girls recognized a Home Depot sign located in American Fork.
It was unknown if the girls were drugged in some way. The mothers said the teens had undergone blood tests and were awaiting the results.
While it remains unclear who is responsible or whether the abduction was random or targeted, the mothers said one of the girls felt they were being followed during a walk earlier the same night.
“It’s possible they could have fixated on one or both of the girls or it’s someone that we may have known in the past,” the 16-year-old’s mother said.
The mother of the 17-year-old also said the teen found a stranger in the family’s garage weeks before the abduction. She questioned whether that man may have been one of the kidnappers, though she acknowledged it was only a possible lead that police were investigating.
The parents of both girls made a plea Tuesday for people with information to come forward — and emphasized their daughters’ case had no connection to another Utah County abduction case last weekend that ended in multiple arrests.
Bountiful Police Lt. Dave Edwards said detectives examined the vehicle used in the Utah County abduction, and concluded it was not related to their case.
Anybody who may have witnessed the teens’ abduction or escape is asked to call Bountiful police at 801-298-6000.