Teen's claim of girlfriend being kidnapped proves false

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A teenager told police his 16-year-old girlfriend was abducted by gang members, but it turned out to be a lie.

When Salt Lake City police officers arrived at the house near 1500 South and 1260 West Tuesday night, the 16-year-old boy reported he and his girlfriend were outside his home Tuesday night when he was hit by an SUV. He claimed the people inside the vehicle beat him up with a crowbar and then grabbed his 16-year-old girlfriend and took off.

"We were told that the male was run over by the vehicle and the female was taken against her will into the vehicle, so we thought we had a kidnapping on our hands. Turns out that wasn't the case," said Robin Snyder of the Salt Lake City Police Department.

After hours of questioning the teen and searching for the kidnapped girl, police say the boy's story changed. Police say the 16-year-old boy lied about a few things, like the abduction and his girlfriend's age. He told them she was 16 because he didn't want his parents to know that she was 26.

Salt Lake City police tracked down the so-called "girlfriend" who happened to be the sister of his real girlfriend, a 26-year-old woman.

"After digging deeper into the investigation and talking with more witnesses throughout the night, we do believe that the 26-year-old went willingly with the people in the vehicle," Snyder said.

Police say the girlfriend actually knew the people who picked her up, she even called them. They say the boy lied because he didn't want his family to know her age or perhaps that she's eight months pregnant. What police say he didn't lie about, however, was the beating.

"He was hit with the crowbar, received minor injuries. As far as him getting hit by the vehicle, we have no indication of that actually happening," Snyder said.

Teen's claim of girlfriend being kidnapped proves false

Police say they did find the vehicle this morning, along with the driver, John Paul Samamaniego. He was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for aggravated assault. Whether or not he and the other passengers are gang members is still under investigation.

"It is believed that some people may be gang members, but as far as what gang they belong to or the public enemy being involved, that is not, we don't know that's true yet," Snyder said.

Police say the other passengers in the vehicle could face aggravated assault charges. The 16-year-old boy could also face charges for providing false information.

As for the 26-year-old girlfriend, depending on how the case unfolds, police say she could face charges of having sex with a minor.

Compiled with contributions from Shara Park and Marc Giauque

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