Police: Former employees kidnap West Valley restaurant owner

Police: Former employees kidnap West Valley restaurant owner

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SALT LAKE CITY — Two former employees of a Mexican restaurant in West Valley City briefly kidnapped the store’s owner early Monday, according to police.

Abigail Santillan, 27, was arrested for investigation of kidnapping, and Salt Lake police detective Greg Wilking said detectives were looking Tuesday for a second suspect.

The victim of the alleged kidnapping is the owner of Tacos Mi Caramelo, 1808 W. 3500 South, according to police.

The incident started just after 2 a.m. on Monday in the 300 South block of State Street, according to a Salt Lake County Jail booking affidavit. Santillan and a man approached their former boss, grabbed her by the wrist and told her “that she is to come with them and that they would bring the victim home in West Valley,” the affidavit states.

The woman, however, told them that she was going to leave with her personal bodyguard, according to the affidavit.

That’s when Santillan pulled the woman and “forcefully placed victim in the rear of the vehicle and closed the door, locking it, making it so victim was unable to get out of vehicle,” the affidavit states.

The two suspects then tried to get away from the bodyguard by speeding away and running red lights, according to the affidavit. They drove to the parking lot of Tacos Mi Caramelo, according to police, where the bodyguard caught up with them and got the woman out of the car when it stopped.

“Victim then left the scene with the bodyguard,” the affidavit states.

Later that evening, police were able to track down Santillan and arrest her.

Wilking said there were still many unanswered questions Tuesday, such as a motive and what Santillan and the other man planned to do with the woman at the restaurant. Wilking did not know if the restaurant owner had received prior threats prompting her to have a personal security guard.


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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the KSL.com team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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