WEST VALLEY CITY (ABC4 News) – Criminal records of 43-year-old Creed Cole Lujan, the suspect arrested in Monday’s kidnapping case, showed he previously served prison time for a similar incident 12 years ago.
According to arresting documents, Lujan allegedly approached a random 15-year-old Hunter High student who was walking home Monday shortly before 2:30 p.m. and threatened her with a knife to get in the car.
The victim told police after she got in Lujan’s car, he allegedly duct-taped her hands, feet, and mouth. Unified Police Department Sgt. Melody Gray told ABC4 News Lujan then reportedly threw the victim’s phone out the window.
Investigators said the victim’s mother notified police of her daughter’s disappearance around 3:15 p.m. after a family member informed her that the victim didn’t make it home from school. The mother tracked the location of the victim’s cell phone, where officers began canvassing the area.
The probable cause statement said officers found a doorbell camera that captured the 15-year-old teen and the suspect’s vehicle. Police stated they found the victim around 4:15 p.m. “crying hysterically and running frantically through the area.”
The victim told investigators Lujan gave her two different kinds of pills to relax her and then took her inside a house, where he allegedly photographed, videoed, and sexually assaulted her. He then allegedly drove her to the bus stop by the school before she took off running.
Detectives arrested Lujan at the residence where they found the vehicle matching the description on the doorbell surveillance video.
Back in 2008, Lujan was charged with attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping involving a housekeeping employee at a West Valley City hotel.
Charging documents stated he requested housekeeping service in his room and then attacked the employee from behind and strangled her with a hand towel. She lost consciousness and said after waking up 40 minutes later, Lujan was gone.
Officers reported that when Lujan was told he was being arrested for attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping, he spontaneously replied, ‘Kidnapping? How was it kidnapping? I understand the homicide, but I didn’t kidnap anyone. How did I kidnap her? I don’t know why I did it. The cleaning lady was there in the hotel and I lost it. Is she dead? Is she dead? Is she dead?’
Prosecutors dropped Lujan’s aggravated kidnapping charge in a plea deal, but he still served nearly seven years in prison for attempted aggravated murder. After his prison release, he was placed on lifetime parole.
In November, Lujan was convicted of a DUI but did not return to prison for a parole violation. ABC4 News reached out to Adult Parole and Probation to ask why he was only given 60 days in jail and a fine of $1460. Spokesperson Kaitlin Felsted sent this statement in response to our inquiry:
“We were aware that Mr. Lujan was brought up on Misdemeanor B charges for impaired driving with conditions to be monitored by the court. At that time, Mr. Lujan’s supervising agent did prepare a report but did not suggest any action from the Board due to the pending charges and their respective level.
Our initial review shows that Mr. Lujan was being supervised according to standards, and was compliant as far as employment, residence, treatment and supervision, having met at his home with his agent as recently as January 8. As with other critical incidents we will be conducting a more in-depth review of supervision history and our actions.”
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill wouldn’t comment specifically on this case. But talked to ABC4 News about recidivism or repeat offenders.
“Generally about 2/3 of the people who are released from our federal system and jail prisons tend to go back behind bars within three to eight years. When we look at violent offenders, 64 percent of them will be back behind bars within eight years compared to 40 percent for non-violent offenders,” said Gill.
Gill said the determining factors for recidivism depends on rehabilitation methods, such as substance abuse treatment, mental health therapy during incarceration and after release.
“There’s a challenge for the pursuit of education, which is often tied to employment, then has an impact on their economic well-being and having a place to live. If those structures of support cannot be brought to success, then there’s a higher chance of that person going back to a life of crime or a system they’re familiar with,” he said.
He said the challenges the criminal justice system face are funding, resources, and a lack of research-based therapeutic intervention.
“I’ve advocated for criminal justice reform for almost 20 years. But I’m also enough of a pragmatist to know that there are individuals who have certain behavior-thinking patterns that are harder for us to ensure a higher level of rehabilitative success,” said Gill.
He added, “If someone is a little bit older, the process takes more time because one theory is your behaviors are more imprinted into them.”
Lujan was booked in the Salt Lake County Jail and now faces a list of charges including aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual abuse of a child (stranger to victim), rape, distribution of pornographic material, aggravated assault, threat of violence, and tampering with evidence.
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