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South Jordan police officer arrested on suspicion of aggravated kidnapping

By Graham Dudley, KSL.com | Posted - Nov. 28, 2020 at 12:01 p.m.


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NEPHI — A South Jordan police officer was arrested Friday after a family member told authorities he rolled his vehicle in rural Juab County, took the family member's personal belongings and ordered the relative not to leave.

Scott Russell is being held on suspicion of aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, criminal trespass, burglary, reckless endangerment and interruption/interference with a communications device.

The incident began on Thanksgiving, according to a Juab County sheriff's deputy who recorded his conversations with the family member in a probable cause statement. The family member made arrangements to go for a drive with Russell before dinner.

The two traveled south on I-15. The family member first became alarmed, the statement says, when Russell denied requests to be taken home. He became "more irrational and paranoid," the deputy wrote, and at one point took the family member's phone and disabled it.

Russell exited the highway near Yuba State Park south of Nephi and Levan and entered an area known as the Sevier River Estates. Russell then rolled the vehicle off an embankment at the river's edge, the statement says.

When the two exited the vehicle, Russell allegedly ordered his family member to lie face down on the ground and remove their shoes and all personal belongings. The deputy wrote that the family member complied because they knew Russell had a firearm.

Russell later removed his gun from an ankle holster and "tossed it over a fence in some sagebrush."

The two found an outbuilding for shelter, and the family member was told to stay there. "After a period of time passed," the statement says, "the victim felt safe enough to walk towards I-15 and attempt to get help." The family member flagged down a passing car and was later transported to Utah Valley Hospital by a relative.

Upon inspecting the scene, law enforcement found Russell's vehicle, Russell's gun, personal belongings of the family member, and two sets of footprints leading to an outbuilding, all matching the family member's description of the incident.

The deputy wrote that Russell was arrested and interviewed on Friday. "It was hard to follow their recollection of events," the statement says. "The suspect claimed he had been set up, and believed he was actively being watched by an unknown organization."

Russell told deputies he discarded his gun so the organization would see and know he didn't pose a threat.

South Jordan Lt. Matt Pennington told KSL the agency was made aware of the investigation early Friday morning and immediately placed Russell on administrative leave.

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Graham Dudley

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