Woman buying costume at Provo man’s house escapes kidnapping Monday

Oct 31, 2022, 5:30 PM | Updated: Nov 18, 2022, 6:04 pm
A woman who went to a Provo man's house to buy an item for a costume had to fight off the man Monda...
A woman who went to a Provo man's house to buy an item for a costume had to fight off the man Monday after police say he tried to abduct her. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)
(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah — A woman who went to a Provo home to purchase an item for a Halloween costume says she had to fight for her life after the seller allegedly tried to abduct her, according to police.

Following the encounter, Matthew Henry Swann, 39, of Provo, was booked into the Utah County Jail on Monday for investigation of kidnapping.

According to a police booking affidavit, a college-aged woman went to Swann’s house to purchase a hat for a costume. Provo police say the 20-year-old woman arranged on a social media marketplace to meet the man at his residence at about 10:50 a.m.

“The student was inside Swann’s home and made the transaction. As the student prepared to leave, Swann pushed her into the bedroom and closed the door behind them. Swann then grabbed the student around the waist with both arms, took her phone away and then attempted to remove his shirt,” the affidavit states.

The woman, “fearing she was about to be raped and fearing for her life” punched and bit Swann until she was able to fight him off and run out of the home and call 911, according to police.

Provo police officer Shad LeFevre says while the majority of transactions arranged through social media are conducted without a problem, Monday’s incident is a good reminder for buyers and sellers to always be cautious about who they’re communicating with. When buying or selling something, LeFevre said, it’s best to make the transaction in a safe place such as an outdoor location or a public place. He also encourages buyers always to take a friend to the transaction whenever possible.

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Woman buying costume at Provo man’s house escapes kidnapping Monday