Eagle Mountain Mayor Fabricates Kidnapping Story

Eagle Mountain Mayor Fabricates Kidnapping Story

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EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah (AP) -- The mayor of this tiny town may face criminal charges for lying to county and federal law enforcement investigators about being carjacked and kidnapped.

Kelvin Bailey, 47, allegedly told authorities he was kidnapped on Thursday near Mona in Juab County, carjacked and forced to drive to California.

Bailey said he had stopped to help a stranded motorist, but the man had brandished a gun and forced Bailey to drive west, police said.

Reporting the incident by phone to the Utah County Sheriff's Office, Bailey told police he had escaped his captor somewhere near Barstow, Calif.

But on Friday night, in a meeting with sheriff's detectives and FBI agents, Bailey admitted fabricating the incident, FBI Special Agent George Dougherty said.

"He confessed that he made the story up," Dougherty said. "He said he felt under-appreciated for the job he does, and that he is under too much pressure."

Bailey, who went home Friday night, was not likely to be arrested, Dougherty said. Dougherty was unsure about Bailey's whereabouts during the time he was "missing."

He could, however, face criminal charges for making a false report to law enforcement, which carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Bailey, a construction consultant, was elected as Eagle Mountain's mayor 15 months ago. A native of Texas, he came to Utah with his wife and three children in 1998. Eagle Mountain is a Utah County town about 15 miles west of Lehi.

Earlier this year, the City Council considered giving Bailey a $25,000 bonus because he was serving both as the part-time mayor and as the fill-in city administrator.

Bailey's wife has suffered a stroke and he cares for her and their children, two of whom still live at home.

In his State of the City address earlier this year, Bailey referred to the many "challenges" facing the city, where the population has mushroomed from 250 to 8,000 in six years. Bailey spoke of the "tremendous burden on my family and myself" caused by the departure of a key city official.

"I was forced to accept (new) responsibilities . . . without monetary compensation, and at the same time continued to serve as mayor, which was supposed to be a part-time job," Bailey said in his speech, adding that he was forced to "repair an enormous financial and organizational mess."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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