SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah (ABC4) – Fear of abuse prompted a woman to try running away from a man later arrested for abducting her, according to court records.
On Friday, South Salt Lake Police were notified of a possible child abduction at a convenience store. Witnesses told police a female, believed at the time to be a teenager, had jumped out of a vehicle, crying and asking for help while the driver of the car was inside the store.
Surveillance video captured the moment the man, later identified as 22-year-old Carl Gravitt, came out of the store, put the woman over his shoulder, brought her back to the vehicle, and drove away.
South Salt Lake Police, believing the victim was a teenager, worked to activate a Saturday morning Amber Alert to search for the suspect and victim.
Court documents obtained by ABC4 outline how investigators were able to locate Gravitt and the unidentified victim.
Police say they determined the suspect’s vehicle, a Nissan Pathfinder, may have been stolen earlier in the week. After locating the owner of the vehicle, South Salt Lake Police say they were able to confirm the vehicle was stolen, but not where the suspect and victim were.
Police were also able to identify a man in a search of their databases that had matching tattoos of the man caught on the surveillance video. According to the probable cause statement, investigators then determined Gravitt may be a suspect.
After finding a West Valley City address could be connected to Gravitt, authorities traveled to the residence and located the suspect vehicle in the driveway.
Inside, police say they found Gravitt and the victim sleeping. Police then brought both in for questioning. That’s when police learned the victim was not a teenager, but a 36-year-old woman.
When investigators spoke to the woman about the incident, she told them she had been “abused for some time by Gravitt,” according to court documents. She also told police the couple, who have been dating about eight months and living together, had been in a fight the night before and accused Gravitt of hitting and kicking her in the car.
According to the woman, when she saw Gravitt go into the convenience store, she “ran away,” approaching a man and asking him to help her. Police report in court documents that Gravitt then picked up the woman to take her to the car.
The woman told police “she did not want to go with Gravitt and wanted to get away.”
According to the probable cause statement, Gravitt admitted to police the woman “was afraid he was going to assault her because he had in the past.” The man also allegedly admitted to putting the woman back in the car, but says he did not know the vehicle was stolen.
Gravitt was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on charges of kidnapping, assault, receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle, and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.
The unidentified victim was evaluated for injuries, but her condition is unclear.
No additional details are available at this time.