SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Linda Lodmell wants answers before she dies.
Seventeen years ago, her great-granddaughter Acacia Bishop was taken from her home in Murray.
Her own daughter, Kelly Lodmell who is Acacia’s grandmother was accused of kidnapping her and jumping into a river together. To this date, Acacia’s body has never been found and Kelly is in a Texas mental facility.
Linda Lodmell has not seen her daughter since 2005 when she was declared insane. But she would like to one day visit her before she passes away and ask what happened to Acacia.
“The mystery is what did you do Kelly?” Lodmell said. “Did you drown that baby? Did you sell it to someone to take that baby?
In 2003, Acacia was taken from her great-grandmother’s home. Immediately all attention was put on Kelly Lodmell. According to Linda Lodmell, her daughter has mental problems. The search for the 18-month-old began in Salt Lake County but stretched into Idaho after she was seen in Idaho Falls.
There, at a waterway near a hydroelctric plant authorities later said Kelly Lodmell jumped into the water. They say she took baby Acacia into the water as well.
Kelly survived and was arrested. But there was no sign of baby Acacia. Authorities eventually ended their search and presumed she drowned.
Shortly after her daughter was taken into custody. Linda Lodmell visited her jail.
“I asked her where is the baby?” recalled Lodmell about that conversation. “And I asked her where is the baby? She wouldn’t answer me and I kept asking her and asking her where is Acacia? And all she kept saying was, she’s in good hands.”
But she never said anything beyond that according to her mother. Kelly was charged with the murder of the toddler despite the fact that a body was never found.
“I think she meant she did throw her in river and it’s now in God’s hands,” said Linda Lodmell. “But I still think she paid somebody to take that baby.”
That’s because witnesses claimed Kelly and Acacia were seen at a local hotel with a man in Idaho Falls. But authorities found no evidence of that.
“Our detectives have looked at that possibility and have exhausted all the leads on that possibility,” said Sgt. Steve Hunt back in 2003. “They haven’t found anything that convinces them that there was a third person.”
But there were other facts of the case that bothered the family including Kelly’s missing money.
“Where did that $700 go to?” said Linda Lodmell. “She paid somebody to take that baby.”
Linda Lodmell and even Acacia’s own dad Adam Bishop agreed there was no evidence the child was ever in the water. Lodmell said the grates at the waterway should have stopped the child from going down stream. And to this day, it fuels their theory that Acacia is still alive.
Organizations like the Polly Klaas Foundation, The National Center of Missing Children and the Charley Project list her as missing. An age progression picture is also attached to their listing of Acacia.
“So the question still is what happened to Acacia?” said Linda Lodmell.
Friday ABC4 concludes its report on the the disappearance of baby Acacia. Watch Part 3 here.
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