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'I blame myself': Dad laments social media risks after son found following Amber Alert

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SOUTH OGDEN — Clark Rhew woke up at 7 a.m. Monday to help his 11-year-old son get ready for school and was greeted by a nightmare scenario.

"The (front) door was wide open, the lights were on, his bedroom door was open," Rhew said. "Then I saw the note on his pillow. It said something to the effect that, 'I love you and I appreciate everything you've done, and I'm OK and I'll be back soon. Unless you call 911, then I won't be back.'"

About nine hours later, Weston Kubbe, 37, of Murray, was arrested in the alleged abduction of 11-year-old Caden Rhew, two hours after an Amber Alert was disseminated throughout the state. Police say Kubbe met his young victim over the internet, a finding that haunted Caden's father Monday.

"I didn't know he had been contacting anybody on social media other than his school friends," Clark Rhew said, then adding a warning for other parents. "Be aware of what your children are doing online. Keep up with them. Spy on them. This could have been a death. It could have been the death of a child through a predator. … And I blame myself as much anything."

Investigators say someone recognized Kubbe and called police. Soon afterward, around 4 p.m., Caden was found safe at Best Buy in Murray. Kubbe was located around the same time and arrested, but he was elsewhere in Murray at the time, said South Ogden Police Sgt. Will DeHart, though he wasn't sure precisely where.

"The Amber Alert worked. It worked phenomenally," DeHart said. "Thanks to everybody who called in a tip, who kept their eyes out for this guy, so we could get Caden back safely."

The boy was physically in good condition. He was taken to a children's justice center to be interviewed.

Kubbe was still being interviewed by police late Monday. Officers expected to book him into the Weber County Jail afterward for investigation of kidnapping and potentially other offenses, DeHart said.

Police believe Caden was taken by Kubbe after he met the boy through an unidentified social media site at least a couple weeks ago. DeHart said their online conversations fill up at least 478 pages.

The alleged abduction was believed to have happened sometime between 11 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. Monday near 3885 S. Raymond Ave.

"I thought he would probably just be a statistic," Rhew said of his son. "I thought I would get a call saying, 'Well, we found the body.' That's what I thought. That was my fear. Things have turned out so much better than I hoped. He's alive."

Police said Caden may have left willingly or was enticed by Kubbe, and they warned that the boy "may try to cover for the suspect." But South Ogden police classified the case as an abduction and later said they believed he may have been held against his will.

Rhew said he had never met or seen Kubbe. South Ogden police said the boy had no history of running away. They also declined to say on which social media site the two met.

Rhew is now focused on understanding what led to the abduction. He also wants Kubbe to face the most extensive punishment possible for the alleged kidnapping.

"I guess I didn't realize how vulnerable one could be a child could be until now," he said. "I would say be aware of what your children are doing at all times on the internet. … We'll sort all this out. I'm just worried about what put (my son) in the position for this to happen."

Kubbe was convicted of an amended charge of attempted burglary in 2002, according to Utah court records. He was originally given probation but was later ordered to serve his original six-month sentence for not successfully completing probation. Other than speeding tickets, Kubbe has no other adult criminal history in the Utah courts system.

Kubbe filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in federal court in May, according to court records, and Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2013.

Kubbe is employed at the Utah Department of Technology Services, where he specializes in desktop support, the department confirmed. Kubbe previously worked as a technician at information technology company Unisys.

Contributing: Andrew Adams


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