Elementary School Teacher Defends Actions After Being Charged With Child Kidnapping

Nov 21, 2019, 8:01 PM | Updated: 8:31 pm

WEST JORDAN, Utah — An elementary school teacher charged with kidnapping a child from her own school spoke out for the first time Thursday, saying she’s not a kidnapper and was trying to get a sobbing 6-year-old girl safely home.

Amy Martz, who has 24 years of education experience including being a principal for 13 years, said the Sept. 4 incident was a complete misunderstanding.

“I did not kidnap a child. I followed a clearly distraught child as she left the school ground. I felt she was not safe traveling alone,” said Martz as she read a statement to the media in her attorney’s office in Salt Lake. “My whole life has been about serving and helping children. I’m a rule follower. I stay safely on the side of policy and law it’s been my job for 24 years as a teacher, as a principal, as a lawyer to children.”

Along with teaching, Martz is also a lawyer and runs a legal practice. She said there was no reason for her to be charged with child kidnapping, a first-degree felony charge that could put her in prison for the rest of her life.

Martz said the school day had just ended at Fox Hollow Elementary School when she noticed the distraught child wanting help. She said she grabbed the student’s hands and walked past the buses.

“As we passed the busses I asked do you take the bus? She shook her head, ‘no.’ As we passed the parent drop off zone I asked, ‘does your mom pick you up here?’ She shook her head ‘no.’ She pulled me by the hand to the crosswalk. She nodded still bawling,” Martz read in a statement. “We traveled on the main road heading south at each fork in the road I stopped and said, ‘Which way home?’ She would point confidently and said this way home…I finally realized this cute girl had no idea where she was going. I stopped at the first house we came to. We stayed on the porch and I asked the family if I could use a cell phone. I immediately called the school. I did say I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a pickle. I take responsibility and regret that the child’s parents were frightened. I was only keeping her safe.”

But Chief Deputy Jeff Hall with the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office told KSL TV on Tuesday after the charges had come out that Martz crossed the line when she went off school property.

“The teacher took the student by the hand and rather than doing the several things that appear to be in policy the teacher took the child off campus and they were gone for quite a while,” he said.

Martz’s attorney said she could have been disciplined another way.

“I’m shocked, I’m shocked [by the charges],” said attorney Cara Tangaro. “This could have been handled with discipline through the school. It could have been handled administratively. An unlawful detention is a class B misdemeanor that probably could have fit this situation.”

Martz said she hopes the district attorney’s office will see her true intent and reconsider.

“I plead with the prosecutor to drop the charges against me,” she said. “I acted responsibly. I provided protection to a child.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Buttons for Live On Utah, a suicide prevention and mental health campaign, on Nov. 9, 2021. The Uta...

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Rate of suicide increasing in Utah, but so are prevention resources and their use

Suicide rates in Utah rose in 2022 compared to 2021, but along with that, the number of people using state resources for suicide prevention has increased.

2 hours ago

Elder Patrick Kearon. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)...

Josh Ellis

Elder Patrick Kearon called to Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Elder Patrick Kearon has been called as the newest member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

2 hours ago

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birth home, which is operated by the National Park Service. (David Gol...

Dave Alsup and Aya Elamroussi

Good Samaritans saved Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth home in Atlanta from being burned to the ground, officials say

Two Utah tourists helped foil an attempt to set the birth home of Martin Luther King Jr. on fire.

4 hours ago

Carfax found that roughly 2.1 million vehicles in Utah have rolled back odometers. (KSL TV)...

Matt Gephardt

Odometer fraud is making a comeback and could cost car buyers thousands of dollars

Con artists selling used cars have a new way of rolling back an odometer, making it significantly cheaper and quicker for them to achieve. On average, someone who buys a car with a rolled back odometer loses about $4,000.

14 hours ago

WII veteran Ed Carroll at Pearl Harbor. (Courtesy: Ed Carroll)...

Erin Cox and Michael Houck, KSL TV

Utah veteran honored for service at Pearl Harbor 82 years ago

A Utah WII veteran shares his experience of Pearl Harbor as he returned to the island to be honored for his duty to his country.

15 hours ago

(FILE) - Cars on a snowy road in a canyon. (KSL TV)...

Katija Stjepovic and Michael Houck, KSL TV

UHP, UDOT warn drivers to be prepared before driving on snowy roads

As the snowy weather hits Utah's valleys, UHP and UDOT wants every driver to be prepared for the upcoming snowy weather.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

Elementary School Teacher Defends Actions After Being Charged With Child Kidnapping