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South Salt Lake Police defend use of AMBER Alert after suspect, victim found

Carl Gravitt, alleged kidnapping victim.jpg
Carl Gravitt, alleged kidnapping victim (2).jpg
Posted at 7:30 AM, Jun 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-26 22:08:06-04

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah — South Salt Lake Police say they made the decision to issue an AMBER Alert Saturday morning due to the possible kidnapping victim looking "petite," along with evidence found at the scene leading investigators to believe she was a child.

However, after the alert was canceled when the suspect and victim were found, it was announced the woman was in her 30s and in a relationship with the suspect.

Authorities activated the alert while investigating an apparent kidnapping caught on security footage Friday night.

Security video showed a red 1990 Nissan Pathfinder pulling into the parking lot at 310 East and 3300 South just before 10:30 p.m. Police later discovered that the vehicle was stolen earlier this week.

A man, later identified as 22-year-old Carl Gravitt, was seen walking into the store.

Carl Gravitt (2).jpg

Then a female passenger, who police and witnesses initially believed was a teen, exited the vehicle and ran to a customer and his vehicle at a gas pump. Police say she was crying and asking for help, and she then attempted to hide underneath the bystander's truck.

Gravitt ran after her, pulled her out from under the vehicle, lifted her over his shoulder, put her back in the Nissan — seemingly against her will — and drove away.

Carl Gravitt, alleged kidnapping victim (2).jpg

A size three shoe was found outside the store, which also led police to believe the victim was a minor.

Police released photos of Gravitt from the surveillance footage, along with a physical description.

Danielle Croyle of the South Salt Lake Police Department said they received special permission to use the AMBER Alert due to the description of witnesses and how young the woman appeared in the surveillance video.

Full video: South Salt Lake AMBER Alert press briefing

Police were able to identify Gravitt as the suspect, and they found him and the woman inside the stolen vehicle parked at a West Valley City address.

Both agreed to speak with detectives.

The woman told police Gravitt had physically abused her in the past, including on the night of the incident. She confirmed that she asked the bystander at the gas station for help, and that Gravitt took her away against her will.

Gravitt admitted that he had assaulted the woman in the past, and that she would likely be afraid he would do so again.

He was arrested and booked in jail for kidnapping, assault, receive or transfer of a stolen vehicle, and use or possession of drug paraphernalia. He told police he didn't know the vehicle was stolen and that he bought it from an unknown person on Wednesday. Police also reportedly found a syringe commonly used to inject illegal drugs, which he admitted was his and that he had used it.

He is being held without bail.

Domestic violence victim resources (free, 24/7, confidential):

  • Utah Domestic Violence Coalition:
    • Hotline: 1-800-897-LINK (5465)
    • Online help: udvc.org
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or in an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately.