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South Jordan Police Officer Accused Of Kidnapping Relative On Thanksgiving

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NEPHI, Utah — A South Jordan Police officer was arrested for assaulting and kidnapping a family member on Thanksgiving night.

Scott Russell was booked into the Juab County Jail on Friday on charges of aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, criminal trespass, burglary, reckless endangerment and interruption/interference with a communications device.

Mug shot of officer Scott Russell (Juab County Jail)

According to the probable cause statement, the family member made arrangements to go on a ride with Russell before dinner on Thanksgiving.

While the two traveled south on I-15, the family member asked to be taken home, but Russell denied the request.

“The suspects behavior became more irrational and paranoid, at one point, taking the victims phone and disabling it,” read the statement.

Russell continued traveling on I-15 before exiting near Yuba State Park and entering an area known as the Sevier River Estates.

The suspect then rolled the vehicle off an embankment at the river’s edge, the family member recounted to a Juab County Sheriff’s deputy.

“Once both parties exited the vehicle, the victim was told to lay face down on the ground, and remove their shoes plus any personal belongings,” the statement continued. “The victim had knowledge the suspect did have a firearm in their possession, so complied with all directives.”

Russell later removed the firearm from an ankle holster, along with the ammo and magazine, and tossed it over a fence. The statement said Russell also discarded the family member’s wallet and personal belongings.

The two walked away from the disabled vehicle and eventually stumbled upon an abandoned outbuilding where the victim was told to stay.

“After a period of time passed, the victim felt safe enough to walk towards I-15 and attempt to get help,” the statement said.

The family member flagged down a passing car and was later transported to Utah Valley Hospital by a relative.

Law enforcement officers were then called to inspect the scene.

During the investigation, officers located the family member’s personal belongings as well as Russell’s car and gun.

Two sets of footprints were also tracked to an abandoned outbuilding where some additional property of Russell’s was believed to be found.

“All evidence collected was consistent with the victims account of said events,” the statement said.

Russell was arrested and interviewed on Friday.

He told police he had been set up and believed he was actively being watched by an unknown organization.

“The suspect claimed they again were being watched by individuals, and wanted these individuals to see him openly discard the firearm, so they knew he didn’t pose a threat,” the statement said.

South Jordan Lt. Matt Pennington told KSL that Russell was immediately placed on administrative leave after the agency was made aware of the investigation early Friday morning.

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