Family Feels 'the System' Failed Kelley Lodmell

Family Feels 'the System' Failed Kelley Lodmell


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Stacey Butler Reporting...As Acacia Bishop's great grandparents try to cope with the grim news they can't help but think, this might have been prevented. And, mental health officials agree. It’s a story we're hearing all too often.

Linda Lodmell, Acacia's Great Grandmother: "I DIDN'T THINK KELLEY WOULD DO ANYTHING TO THE GRANDDAUGHTER."

But when 38-year-old Kelley Lodmell kidnapped her 19-month-old granddaughter Acacia she wasn't taking her medication.

Vicki Cottrell, Dir. Nat'l Assoc. for the Mentally Ill: “OUR HEARTS ARE JUST SICK BECAUSE SHE DOES WELL ON HER MEDICATIONS, I CAN'T TELL YOU WHAT A COMMON STORY THAT IS."

Kelley's parents Dick and Linda says she abused drugs. And court records show she has a history of violence including aggravated assault, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and a DUI.

Last year Lodmell held a knife to a South Salt Lake Police officer. A move that warranted the use of deadly force by the officer -- but she was subdued and booked into jail.

Lodmell was sent to a downtown halfway house downtown and seemed to be making progress.

Dick Lodmell, Acacia's Great Grandfather: “THEY GOT HER INTO A JOB, THEY GOT HER INTO MEDICINE, THEY GOT HER A PLACE TO STAY, SOME STRUCTURE IN HER LIFE. ONCE THAT ERODES THEN SHE HAD TROUBLE AGAIN."

Although Kelley hid Acacia in a basement apartment last year for a more than an hour the baby's great grandparents never dreamed it would come to this. Linda blames the mental health system for letting her daughter slip through the cracks.

Linda Lodmell, Acacia's Great Grandmother: “IT COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED, ALL OF IT. THEY TAKE A CUT HERE AND A CUT THERE. THE GOVERNMENT-THE SYSTEM."

The Utah director for the National Association for the Mentally Ill agrees.

Vicki Cottrell, Dir. Nat'l Assoc. for the Mentally Ill: “I DON'T THINK WE HAVE CRACKS -- I THINK WE HAVE HUGE GAPS."

This year alone the legislature slashed statewide mental health treatment by 965-thousand dollars. It’s the biggest cut to date.

Vicki Cottrell, Dir. Nat'l Assoc. for the Mentally Ill: "THERE'S NOT ENOUGH FUNDS TO FOLLOW UP WITH THAT PERSON SO NOW WE HAVE A SICK PERSON RUNNING AROUND THE STREETS AGAIN WHO COULD DO SOMETHING."

Ironically the baby's great grandfather says, behind bars, his daughter will finally receive the security and help she's needed.

Another irony: A new law just went into affect two weeks ago that would have given the family the power to have Kelley committed had they known the law existed.

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