Sam Penrod ReportingAn Orem man accused of kidnapping a five-year old boy pleaded guilty today. It's part of a plea bargain to potentially shorten his time behind bars. Even so, Robert Kartchner will be in prison for a very long time.
This was a very frightening case because the boy was picked at random, tied up with electrical tape, and left in the mountains on a very cold night. Today 21-year old Robert Kartchner admitted to five felony counts of child kidnapping, child abuse and attempted child kidnapping. In court, he was subdued and soft spoken and cried at times as prosecutors read the facts of the crimes he committed.
In all, Kartchner admitted he attempted to abducting three children in 2002 and 2003. Then on October 10th, he kidnapped a five-year old Mapleton boy. The victim's parents are relieved the plea deal will keep their young son from having to testify.
Amy Bladh, Victim's Mother: “It’s a good thing, one less traumatic experience for him to go through.”
Dan Bladh, Victim's Father: “Ultimately, the important thing is that he spends time incarcerated. It’s the best thing for us and for everybody in the community; he's a danger."
Kartchner kidnapped Benjamin Bladh as he rode his scooter home from school, tied him up with black electrical tape and took him to the mountains, where he cut the boys arms, legs and neck with a utility knife, before throwing him into the bushes. The boy found some workers who rescued him later that night.
Robert Kartchner was arrested when he returned to the mountains that night because his victim was able to give police a description of the truck his kidnapper was driving.
Robert Kartchner will be sentenced in August, and even with today's plea deal, he faces a likely sentence of 20-years to life in prison.