UINTAH COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A Uintah County couple has been charged with first-degree felony kidnapping after police said they took an 11-year-old girl who was attempting to run away from home and kept her inside their trailer against her will overnight.
According to charging documents filed Monday morning in 8th Judicial Court in Uintah County, Jared Craig Ekker, 44, and Laura Beth Moore, 36, were arrested on December 6, 2018
Documents state Ekker and Moore found the girl walking near their trailer on December 4, 2018 and brought her into their trailer. The girl told them she had run away from home.
The girl told police Ekker had a gun, according to documents.
Ekker was listening to the police scanners throughout the night and into the next morning as law enforcement and searchers were looking for the girl, documents state.
Charging documents state that at some point the girl told them she had been there long enough, and she wanted to leave to go see her mom, but Ekker locked the door to the trailer and told her she could not leave and that she could sleep there for the night.
The next morning the girl told police Ekker tried to arrange for someone to come pick her up and take her away from his residence, documents state.
Police located Ekker walking after his mother called to report she knew the girl was inside her son’s trailer. Police responded to the trailer and was able to locate the missing girl.
A press release was issued on December 6, 2018 by Uintah County Sheriff as a result of the incident.
“After a search lasting over 16 hours, an 11-year-old missing juvenile was located at a residence not far from her home in Lapoint,” said the release. “Several resources were deployed and utilized during the search, including deputies from the sheriff’s office, the Uintah County Search and Rescue, agencies with the Ute Tribe, and Classic Air Helicopter. Teams of searchers checked properties and buildings, went door to door, and utilized information from community members throughout the incident in an effort to locate the juvenile.”
In the release it stated Ekker and Moore, were arrested and booked into the Uintah County Jail for harboring a runaway juvenile and obstruction of justice but after being screened by the Deputy County Attorney, first-degree felony kidnapping charges were filed instead.
Both Ekker and Moore face first-degree felony kidnapping charges.
Ekker has a criminal history including convictions for threat or use of a dangerous weapon in a fight, theft, burning without a permit, disorderly conduct and assault.
Moore has been convicted of theft, possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, electronic communication harassment, stalking, threat of violence, disorderly conduct and impaired driving.