SSLPD: Kidnapping suspect in custody; victim was adult, not minor

This is a screen grab from surveillance video released by the South Salt Lake Police Department on Saturday, June 26, 2021, of an alleged abduction.

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah, June 26, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The female victim of a reported kidnapping, which sparked a multi-agency response Friday night and a Saturday morning Amber Alert, is safe and has been checked out at an area hospital.

The man caught on video throwing the victim over his shoulder as she fought to escape has been booked on felony charges.

A news conference held by the South Salt Lake Police Department early Saturday afternoon added some surprising new insights in the case.

The female victim was not a minor as originally believed, but is a woman in her 30s who has a slight build. She is 5 feet 1 inch tall, weighs 87 pounds, and lost a size three shoe at the scene.

Witnesses on scene and police viewing surveillance footage had believed she might be a teenager, which is why an Amber Alert was issued, said Danielle Croyle, spokeswoman for the SSLPD. The Amber Alert was issued late because it did not meet all required criteria, including birth date and name, Croyle said.

Suspect Carl Justice Gravitt, 22, has been booked into the Salt Lake County jail in what is now described as a domestic assault case, which also involved a stolen vehicle.

According to jail records, Gravitt faces initial charges of:

  • Kidnapping, a second-degree felony
  • Receiving or transfer of a stolen vehicle, a second-degree felony
  • Failure to respond at the command of a police officer, a third-degree felony
  • Assault, a class B misdemeanor
  • Use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor
  • Driving on a denied license, a class C misdemeanor
The suspect in a June 25, 2021 South Salt Lake abduction case has been identified as Carl Justice Gravitt. Photo: South Salt Lake Police Department

Gravitt and the woman, whose name has not been released, were found after they were identified from tips, including some from family members, and police were advised to check a West Valley City location, Croyle said. They were in a red Nissan Pathfinder, which had been reported as stolen, she said.

“She did receive medical treatment for precautionary measures,” Croyle said of the female victim.

Domestic violence is a classification used when the violence charges involve parties who “have been cohabitants or associated for a certain period of time,” Croyle said.

“We have domestic violence resources,” she said, recommending that people visit the department’s website for suggestions. A statewide resource is the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.

“There’s lots of resources in the Salt Lake Valley if you or someone you know is being victimized by domestic violence,” she said.

Initial report

The first report of the presumed abduction came in to South Salt Lake police at about 10:28 p.m. Friday. Police responded to a mini mart at 310 E. 3300 South., and were able to view disturbing surveillance video, which showed a man getting out of the red Pathfinder, later determined to be a stolen vehicle, and heading into the building.

The female, who was in the Pathfinder, then exited the vehicle and ran to the gas pumps, apparently asking a customer for help. The suspect ran from the mini mart and tried to get the female, who apparently slid herself under the vehicle belonging to the unrelated customer.

The video then shows the suspect dragging the female out of her hiding place, and slinging her over his shoulder. As he returned to the stolen Pathfinder, the woman kicked her feet and flailed her arms. Customers said she also yelled for help.

See the surveillance video below.

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