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Tooele father impersonates officer, tries to kidnap children from adoptive parents

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jan 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-16 12:06:57-05

GRANTSVILLE, Utah - More information was released in an attempted kidnapping in Grantsville, that ended with a mother and two Tooele Police officers injured.

According to the probable cause statement released by police, the suspect is the biological father of the three children he attempted to kidnap.

Alison Peterson, PIO with the Grantsville City Police Department said the family is beyond traumatized.

"You can only imagine the horror that this family has gone through," said Peterson.

The horror started just after 5:00 p.m. Sunday, when the family pulled into their Grantsville driveway.

Mug shot: Tyler Nuckolls

"The father for unknown reasons felt like it was best for him to enter the home first which he did and located this individual inside the home with a gun," said Peterson.

That individual was 28-year-old Tyler Nuckolls, who is the biological father of the family's three adopted children, all under the age of six. According to the probable cause statement, Nuckolls told the father that he was a police officer and the father was under arrest. Then the two began to fight.

"The altercation moved out into the driveway where the mother and children were still in the family vehicle," said Peterson.

Nuckolls told the father to give him the keys to the vehicle, so he could leave with the three children, according to charging documents.

"Being a parent you’re very protective of those children and to have someone whose intentions is to leave with those children that in and of itself is very traumatizing," said Peterson.

The trauma continued when police said Nuckolls wrestled the keys from the father, and put them into the ignition, with the children still in the car. That's when the mother started to fight him.

"She was dragged down the driveway as he was backing out. The suspect did crash the vehicle at the end of the driveway," said Peterson.

The crash provided the parents with a small window of opportunity to get the kids out of the car. Then Nuckolls took off, heading towards Tooele.

He was spotted by Tooele City Police officers, but they said he refused to stop. He eventually got out and started to run, but the officers were able to tackle him and take him into custody.

"There was a physical altercation in trying to affect that arrest and unfortunately two Tooele city officers were injured," said Peterson.

Luckily, those injuries were minor and the officers have already been released from the hospital.

"Fortunately they’re safe and they’re together and they now have the opportunity to heal or begin to heal from all of this," said Peterson.

Police still aren't sure how Nuckolls tracked down the family, because it was a closed adoption, and he was ordered not to have contact with any of the kids.

Nuckolls is facing 16 charges, ten of which are felonies. They range from impersonation of an officer, to child kidnapping and aggravated assault.