2 in custody for reportedly holding man hostage for 5 hours during beating, robbery

2020 file photo of police vehicles at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 15 near Exit 40, Washington County, Utah, Nov. 2, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/ Cedar City News

ST. GEORGE — A local couple is being held without bail for allegedly holding a man hostage for more than five hours as they took his money and property. It wasn’t until a relative transferred hundreds of dollars into one of the suspects’ accounts that he was released.

Georgia Brook Jones, 26, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, March 6, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

According to the probable cause statements filed in support of the arrests, officers were dispatched to an apartment complex on Saturday following the report of a robbery.

The statements say that a caller to 911 told authorities the incident began the night before when he was at the suspects’ apartment located on West 360 North. While in the apartment, the reports state, the man was confronted by one of the tenants, later identified as 26-year-old Georgia Brook Jones, who told him there was several thousand dollars missing from her home and that she believed he was the one who stole the money.

The man denied stealing the money, and when Jones’ partner, 24-year-old Michael Dean Rottmund, returned home, both suspects allegedly confronted the man about the missing money and then started assaulting him.

The caller told officers that when he attempted to fight back, Rottmund took out “a large knife” and held it against the man’s body and ordered him to sit down and to not move. Rottmund also allegedly told the man to strip off his clothing and proceeded to rummage through his belongings looking for cash, gift cards, jewelry or other valuables, all of which Rottmund took from the man.

The caller also told officers that Rottmund threatened to assault him with a knife if he attempted to make a run for it, adding that he was later allowed to contact a family member and request that the family member transfer $900 into Jones’ Paypal account. It was only after the deposit was in the account that the man was allowed to leave – but not before Rottmund allegedly threatened to shoot him if he went to police. The man left without his clothing or any other personal property and returned to his home, thus ending the five-hour ordeal.

Michael Dean Rottmund, 24, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, March 6, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

As soon as it was safe, the man called police to report the incident. The report states that officers found injuries on the caller that were consistent with an assault as it was described during the interview.

Officers went to the apartment complex where Rottmund and Jones live, at which point the report states they encountered Rottmund out in front of the apartment loading property into his car.

During a search of both the apartment and the vehicle, officers recovered nearly $1,865 in property that was later returned to the caller, leaving more than $1,300 in money and property allegedly taken by the suspects – including 300 in cash, more than $100 in personal property as well as the $900 that was transferred into the suspect’s PayPal account that was never recovered by police.

Officers also found drugs and paraphernalia during the search, as well as a number of identifying documents in a container in the closet that listed the names, dates of birth and other personal information belonging to several individuals.

The officer noted in the report that Jones said she still had the documents from when she worked for an internet company five months prior that she needed to shred but that she hadn’t done so yet.

Shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday the couple was transported and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility where each suspect faces first-degree felony robbery, since they allegedly used force to take property and money from the man, as well threatening him with a knife that the reports state was later recovered by police.

Each also faces third-degree felony kidnapping for unlawfully detaining the man, as well as third-degree felony theft and six misdemeanor drug and paraphernalia charges for heroin, methamphetamine, pills and a number of pipes and other paraphernalia found in both the vehicle and the apartment during the search by police.

The officer requested that Rottmund be held without bail, since the reporting party told police that while he was being detained, the suspect threatened to kill him if he went to police. The officer also noted that Rottmund was packed up and ready to move to Las Vegas when authorities made contact with him.

The request was approved, and two bail orders were signed by District Judge Jeffery C. Wilcox early Sunday morning, who also found that Jones would present a “substantial danger” to the community or would likely flee the court’s jurisdiction if released on bail.

As such, both suspects remain in custody without bail.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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