Woman Kidnapped At South Salt Lake Gas Station Found Alive; Suspect Arrested
Jun 26, 2021, 8:50 AM | Updated: Jun 30, 2021, 9:23 am
SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah — It was a terrifying situation overnight as a teenage girl was believed to be kidnapped outside a convenience store in South Salt Lake.
An AMBER Alert was sent out Saturday morning as a result of the kidnapping. It was canceled shortly before 9:30 a.m. after police said the suspect and victim were located.
A man has since been arrested, according to police.
Police said they were able to gather more information Saturday afternoon, thanks to a flood of tips from the public. All they originally had to go on was surveillance video of the violent encounter Friday night at a Miniature Mart Gas Station.
#FOUND: Police say victim and suspect were found in WVC. Victim received precautionary medical treatment, detectives speaking with both. More details to come at 12:30 press conference. @KSL5TV https://t.co/LCVAta3xel
— Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) June 26, 2021
The incident unfolded at 310 East and 3300 South around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
Video shows the small-framed woman running toward a truck, where she tried to get underneath, with several witnesses nearby. But the suspect caught up to her, dragged her out and carried her away, slung over his shoulder.
“A couple of witnesses reported hearing her yell, ‘Help! Please help me, help me,’” Croyle said.
Then, the man shoved her into a stolen Nissan Pathfinder, leaving police with very little information to work with.
“Witnesses at the scene described the victim in this case as possibly a teenager. In addition to that, a shoe was left at the scene, which was a size three. So with that limited information, we did not have a name or a date of birth,” said Danielle Croyle, public information officer with the South Salt Lake Police Department.
Police worked all night to identify and locate the couple. Detectives said they had little help from the key witness — the driver of the truck seen pumping gas.
“We really had a hard time trying to locate the people that were there at the gas station to follow up with them,” said Croyle. “We’re still working on that as part of this case.”
However, Croyle said other bystanders at the gas pumps called 911 for help, and she credited their actions for helping alert police.
Drivers like Charles Albert, who got the AMBER Alert and stopped by the gas station Saturday afternoon, described the video as concerning.
“To be that involved where (the suspect) rips her out from underneath the vehicle and (the bystander) doesn’t help her at all? That’s not cool,” Albert said.
Police support bystanders stepping in to help in situations like Friday night’s kidnapping but said it’s a personal choice.
“You have to go with what you feel comfortable doing,” said Croyle. “We would love to have somebody intervene, but you have fight, flight or freeze; and in that violent of a situation where they are being abducted, you do not know how you’re going to react.”
Police said if you see something, say something and call for help.
“Please help us get a license plate number. Please help us get a good description of the suspect or the victim,” Croyle said of the importance in the public helping police investigations.
Nevertheless, police said it was the community that helped track down the suspect and victim in West Valley City.
“We even had family members calling in to identify who the perpetrator was in that video,” Croyle said.
Police said the community’s tips and detectives’ efforts, along with a database search of matching tattoos, helped police identify the suspect as 22-year-old Carl Gravitt and find the 35-year-old victim alive.
Based on the victim’s petite frame — she was described as a 5-foot-1 woman weighing 86 pounds — police initially thought she was a teenager.
This prompted them to seek special permission to send out an AMBER Alert.
It wasn’t until after the victim was located that they found out she was born in 1985.
According to arresting documents, the couple had been dating for eight months. The victim allegedly told police Gravitt had a history of assaulting her.
The woman told detectives they had an argument Friday night, and that he hit and kicked her in the car. Then, when Gravitt went into the gas station, she attempted to run away.
Gravitt was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail under suspicion of kidnapping, assault, receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle, and use or possession of drug paraphernalia, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
If you or anyone you know is in a domestic violence situation, there is help. Call 1-800-897-link for the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.