Utah girl rescued from kidnapping after using SafeUT app
SALT LAKE CITY — A 14-year-old girl was saved after being kidnapped over the weekend thanks to the SafeUT app.
Salt Lake City Police Department arrested 26-year-old Jonathan Simonji who is accused of kidnapping a 14-year-old girl.
On Saturday, Jan 21, at 3:08 a.m. dispatch received a call from someone with the SafeUT app who said a 14-year-old girl had been picked up by an adult and was being held against her will in a home near 300 West 700 North.
Officers responded to the home and saw the teen and Simonji inside. Officers were able to get the girl safely out of the home, however, Simonji refused to come out of the house to speak with officers.
According to a release from police, “Officers believe Simonji, while in a car near 700 South 300 East, pulled up next to the girl, while she was walking home, and attempted to lure her inside of his car with alcohol and food. After the girl refused and tried running away, Simonji is accused of forcefully putting her in his car.”
Simonji then drove the girl to a nearby rental home where he refused to let her leave and continued to offer her alcohol.
The teen told officers she downloaded the SafeUT app and communicated with a worker after not being able to get ahold of friends or family.
After approximately two hours of in-person negotiating, Simonji came out of the house and officers were able to safely take him into custody.
Simonji was booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail on one count of second-degree felony kidnapping.
“The SLCPD reminds community members to always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. If you can, make sure you walk with someone you know and trust. Although safety apps and text to 9-1-1 are increasingly becoming more popular, the SLCPD reminds community members that often, the fastest way to reach help in an emergency is by calling 9-1-1.”
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