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Utah couple charged with kidnapping 11-year-old runaway

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The owner a Salt Lake club was charged Wednesday with sexually abusing former female workers.

FILE - A Uintah County couple has been charged with child kidnapping for allegedly taking in a runaway juvenile, and then wouldn’t let her leave, according to prosecutors.

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Uintah County couple has been charged with kidnapping and accused of taking in a runaway juvenile and then not letting her leave.

Laura Beth Moore, 36, of Roosevelt, and Jared Craig Ekker, 44, of Lapoint, were charged Monday in 8th District Court with child kidnapping, a first-degree felony.

On Dec. 4, an 11-year-old girl ran away from her home in Lapoint, Uintah County. Ekker and Moore saw the girl walking outside their trailer and invited her in, according to charging documents.

"The 11-year old victim told police that (Moore's) roommate had a gun when (she) called to her from his trailer," the charges state. Moore also had a police scanner "and was listening to the police as they searched for the 11-year-old victim throughout the night and into the morning."

Police say at some point, the girl told Moore and Ekker "that she had been there long enough and that she wanted to leave and that she wanted to go see her mom," the charges state. That's when Ekker locked the trailer door and both Moore and Ekker allegedly told the girl that she could not leave and that she had to sleep in their trailer that night.

The next day, Moore tried to arrange for a friend "to come pick up the child and take her away from the residence," the charges state.

Police received a call that morning from Ekker's mother informing them that the girl was in the trailer. The girl was recovered after police spent 16 hours searching for her.

“Teams of searchers checked properties and buildings, went door to door, and utilized information from community members throughout the incident in an effort to locate the juvenile,” the Uintah County Sheriff's Office said in a prepared statement when the girl was found.