SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah (ABC4 News) – A couple was charged Friday after police said they kidnapped two homeless people, doused them with gasoline and severely beat them in front of the couple’s children at an apartment in South Salt Lake.
Charging documents state Tausaafia Kayla Fitisemanu, 25, and Tymel Devonne Hicks, 27 were with two homeless friends on March 10 who were helping them fix their van. While at the junk yard getting auto parts, a gun came up missing from the couple’s vehicle. Believing the homeless man and a woman and stolen the gun, they drove them to their apartment near 3800 S 700 West in South Salt Lake and forced them inside.
While inside, both suspects strangled, kicked, and severely beat the man and woman in the head face and sides with the end of a shotgun and held a knife to the woman’s throat. The suspect’s then called three other men to the apartment to help assist with the assault, but the woman said only one of them actually participated, documents state.
The victims were forced into a bathtub where gasoline was poured over them and while making them drink some of the gas, the suspects threatened to light them on fire to burn them, according to documents.
Documents state Fitisemanu was observed pinching her children to make them cry to drown out the sound of the woman screaming.
Afterwards, the victims were then made to undress and put on other clothing that was supplied by the suspects as their property, including their cellphones, was taken and boxed up.
The woman was finally allowed to leave but was told they know where to find her family and their gun “had other bodies on it”. When the woman left the apartment, she ran to house in the area for help and said her male friend was still inside, documents state.
Officers arrived and could smell a strong odor of gasoline coming from the apartment. After surrounding the base of the stairs, the suspect’s and their two children were removed from the apartment.
The victims were transported to the hospital where it was learned the male had sustained a spinal fracture in addition to having marks all over his back and shoulders. He also has a large gash over his head and numerous bruises. The female victim suffered a skull fracture, bruises and other injuries.
During the interview with police Fitisemanu claimed she had been in her room with the children and had not heard anything and no one came to the apartment. She said she did not know the victims at all and they had not been over at the apartment.
During a search of the apartment, forensic analysts discovered blood spots throughout the apartment, a can of acetone, a roll of duct tape, a 12 gauge shotgun with ammunition, blue latex gloves, the victim’s original clothing covered in gasoline and found hair and blood stuck to strips of duct tape wrapped around the table. The female victim’s backpack was also found inside the apartment with her walled and identification.
Both Fitisemanu and Hicks were charged with two counts each of the following: first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery and second-degree felony aggravated assault.
They were both booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on $500,000 bail.
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