Man convicted of abducting young girls arrested again in southern Utah
Oct 17, 2022, 8:56 PM | Updated: Nov 19, 2022, 12:32 am
(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)
ST. GEORGE, Utah — A convicted sex offender who spent nine years in the Utah State Prison for kidnapping young girls in the Sandy area nearly two decades ago has been arrested again and placed on a 72-hour hold by Adult Probation and Parole as St. George police investigate new allegations.
In addition to having a 72-hour hold placed on him, Andrew James Gwilliam, 42, of St. George, was booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility on Monday morning for investigation of two counts of violating the conditions of being a restricted sex offender, according to jail records. Specifically, he requested or invited a child to accompany him, according to police.
On Friday, police were called to the Little Valley area after Gwilliam allegedly asked two girls the previous day if they would help him clean a church, according to a statement from St. George police. According to the affidavit, the two girls were selling homemade jewelry on a street corner when Gwilliam allegedly contacted approached them. The girls told him, “No,” police said.
One of the people who called officers said they showed pictures of sex offenders in the area to the two girls, and they identified Gwilliam as the man who approached them, according to the affidavit.
Another person said he went back to the same area the next day and was able to get a picture of the man who had approached the girls as well as pictures of his vehicle and license plate, police stated.
With that information, police were able to quickly track down Gwilliam.
In 2002, Gwilliam was convicted of an amended charge of attempted forcible sexual abuse and two counts of aggravated kidnapping. He was sentenced to 10 years to life in the Utah State Prison and is required to register with the Utah Sex Offender and Kidnap Registry. Gwilliam was paroled in 2012.
In that case, police say Gwilliam kidnapped six girls and women at knife or gunpoint over a seven-month period in the Sandy area as they walked alone. The victims ranged in age from 12 to 20.
When Gwilliam was sentenced in 2003, a pre-sentence report noted that he apparently began to behave strangely after suffering a severe head injury while serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His defense attorney at the time said his neurological problems could be treated with medication and therapy.
In 2015, he was arrested again for investigation of two counts of kidnapping for allegedly forcing two 14-year-old girls to go to a hotel with him where he sexually assaulted them. He was temporarily sent back to prison after his arrest for parole violation, but formal charges were never filed in that case due to a lack of evidence.
St. George police say the alleged incident this past weekend is a good reminder for parents to talk to their children about stranger danger, and if they see something suspicious contact police.
KSL-TV’s Michael Houck added new information provided by an affidavit that was later on released.