Deputies Investigating Alleged Kidnapping


A Payson teenager who was taking care of her grandparents' home in Round Valley Saturday was reportedly kidnapped and forced to drive to Phoenix.

According to Gila County Sheriff's detectives, the 16-year-old girl was taking care of her grandparents' animals in Round Valley just south of Payson. She told detectives that she glanced out the window of her grandparents' home and noticed that her car's interior dome light was on. When she went out to turn the light off, she said, a man was in the back seat.

"He demanded she drive him somewhere and he would not hurt her," the sheriff's report said.

The teen told officers that the man ordered her to drive to the Gila River, and told her not to look in the rearview mirror while she drove.

She drove to an area near the Gila River crossing and Interstate 10 toward Buckeye.

The teen told police that the man ordered her to stop along the highway, and when she did, he jumped out of the car and fled into the desert.

Frightened, the teen drove off, stopping at the next exit where she called her grandmother.

Police from the Gila River Indian Community were notified, found the girl and called Gila County officials.

The teen told police that the kidnapper was a man who stood between 5-feet 10-inches tall and 6 feet tall. He was wearing dark clothing and a ball cap.

The incident is still under investigation. Anyone with information about the alleged kidnapping can call the Gila County Sheriff's Department at 474-2208.

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