Man, 6-year-old girl found 7 hours after alleged kidnapping

ST. GEORGE – What police officials call one of their “worst fears” had the best possible outcome Friday night after a 31-year-old man who had abducted his 6-year-old daughter was apprehended and the girl was found unharmed.

At about 7:30 p.m. Friday, the St George Police Department received a report of a child abduction in the area of South Dixie Drive in St. George. They learned that earlier in the day, at about 3:30 p.m., 31-year-old Shane Robert Swenson took his 6-year-old daughter from her home.

Shane Robert Swenson, booking photo, August 2015 | Photo courtesy of the St. George Police Department, St. George News
Shane Robert Swenson booking photo, August 2015 | Photo courtesy of the St. George Police Department, St. George News

Swenson does not have custody of his daughter and was described by police in a press release as being homeless and having mental health issues.

“It’s our understanding that he showed up at the house to visit his daughter,” St. George Police Sgt. Sam Despain said. “There was a moment where the rest of the family became distracted and he was able to slip out of the house with his daughter. That’s when the family of the home noticed she was missing.”

Family members searched the area for the next three hours to no avail; after that, they contacted the police.

Once the call was made, police began to saturate the area with officers. An incident command post was also established at Tonaquint Park to coordinate search efforts. Police additionally contacted citizens, business owners and motels in the vicinity and provided them with descriptions of Swenson and his daughter.

“It was about 10 p.m. when we started to receive reports from citizens and local businesses of possible sightings of that individual and his daughter,” Despain said.

Reports placed Swenson and his daughter in the area of South Bluff Street near the McDonald’s restaurant, where police ultimately apprehended him a short time later. Before then, he had apparently been going in and out of motels on Bluff Street, looking for the best deal on a room, Despain said.

“He was shopping around, which was good,” Despain said with a grin. “He was trying to get the best price.”

Officers arrested a man at McDonald's on Bluff Street after an alleged kidnapping, St. George, Utah, Aug. 14, 2015 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News
Officers arrest a man at McDonald’s on Bluff Street after an alleged kidnapping, St. George, Utah, Aug. 14, 2015 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News

Police made contact with Swenson by McDonald’s, and while he wasn’t very excited to see officers, Despain said, he was taken into custody. The 6-year-old girl was found uninjured and subsequently returned to her mother.

“This ended the best possible way,” Despain said. “This is one of our worst fears. It’s something we train for and prepare for; we don’t want this call of an abducted child.”

Despain said the Police Department brought in all of its resources to aid in finding Swenson and the little girl.

The Police Department was on the verge of calling in its hostage negotiation team and SWAT team, in addition to issuing an Amber Alert and other bulletins to the public. A Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter had also been called in. Yet, thanks to what Despain called great cooperation between police and the public, those additional resources didn’t have to be used.

“We credit this to great cooperation with the citizens of St. George and local business owners for keeping an eye out and providing information that ultimately led to us finding Swenson and his daughter,” Despain said.

Swenson was taken to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.

Detectives are currently reviewing the circumstances surrounding the incident and will subsequently determine what charges may be filed in the case.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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  • Brendon August 15, 2015 at 9:21 am

    It would be interesting to hear his side of the story. Smells like a another case of “demonize the dad”.

  • Dexter August 15, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    He must not be Mormon because if he was the article would of stated that he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints.

    • abby August 15, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      There are a lot of trolls on this site lately. Most of them are LDS bashers and are full of hate. But at least they bring some (very little) substance to the conversations. You on the other hand, are just spewing nonesense. You bring absolutely nothing to the platform. I see you called stupid alot, and I see why you are. I can see that you have many different names here, but it is not hard to tell that it is you. Please do us all a favor and just go away.

      • fun bag August 16, 2015 at 7:49 pm

        why don’t you chime in and defend your LDS against all these “bashers full of hate” It would warm my little heart to see someone successfully defend the official hypocrite religion of the state. “Long live the LD$ Profit”

  • Dexter August 16, 2015 at 8:57 am


  • Dexter August 16, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Cya tomorrow.!

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