WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4) — Police say a 27-year-old man groomed a 13-year-old teen from West Valley and convinced her to run away with him. She is missing at this time.
Carlos Armenta Cota, 27, of Mexico, was charged on Tuesday, April 4, at the Third District Court with seven felonies, including four counts of child kidnapping and three counts of aggravated assault. A no-bail warrant for his arrest has been issued.
According to court documents, the currently missing 13-year-old girl had run away from home to be with Cota multiple times between June 1, 2022, and Jan. 31, 2023.
State prosecutors say they believe Cota is trying to take the teen back to Mexico.
The mother of the teen allegedly did not approve of the relationship between the two, which led to the teen running away multiple times. According to charging documents, the teen ran away to stay with Cota last summer, and when the mother confronted the both of them, Cota accelerated his truck and hit her.
The mother’s leg was bruised and hurt, but police say she pretended it was more serious so she could get her daughter back.
In another instance, Cota allegedly pointed a gun at the mother after she found her daughter in Cota’s apartment.
Police say the current whereabouts of the 13-year-old remains unknown, and she has been listed as a runaway in the National Crime Information Center.