California man arrested for allegedly kidnapping girlfriend


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WEST VALLEY CITY — A California man is being held without bond at the Salt Lake County Jail for allegedly kidnapping his girlfriend over the weekend.

Jhony Efrain Sanchez Macha, 27, was arrested Saturday for investigation of felony kidnapping and six counts of possession of forged writing.

According to West Valley City Police, Sanchez Macha and the 21-year-old woman were in a romantic relationship when they both lived in California.

The woman now lives in Utah.

"From what the victim reported, the suspect came to Utah and sort of deceived her into getting into his vehicle," said Roxeanne Vainuku, spokeswoman for West Valley City Police.

Charging documents state Sanchez Macha would not pull over to let the woman out, but she was able to contact her family and send photos of her locations as Sanchez Macha drove.

"The woman was able to reach out to her family and let them know that she was being taken to California against her will. The family contacted us, and so we started the process of looking for her," Vainuku said.

Sanchez Macha's car was spotted near I-15 near the Timpanogos Highway in Lehi by the Utah Highway Patrol. The case was then turned over to West Valley City Police.

"When our detectives got there, they were able to recover some evidence that indicated he did intend to take her back across state lines," Vainuku said.

Police said, thankfully, the woman was not hurt.

"We're grateful that she's able to contact her family," Vainuku said," and they were able to recognize the severity of the situation to get in touch with police immediately."

A police booking affidavit says detectives also found three permanent residency cards and three Social Security cards in Sanchez Macha's posession. Homeland Security investigators determined they were fake. Investigators also determined Sanchez Macha was in the United States on an expired visa.

The affidavit says Sanchez Macha told police that he could not live without his girlfriend, adding that if he were to be released he would likely kidnap her again.

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Brianna Chavez
Brianna Chavez joined the KSL-TV news team as a reporter in July of 2023. She comes to the Beehive State after working for five years in her hometown of El Paso, Texas.

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