Two men sentenced in 2014 Christmas kidnapping
A Third District Court judge handed down prison sentences this week to two men for the aggravated robbery and kidnapping of an 11-year-old boy on Christmas in 2014.
Gustavo Vasquez-Nava, age 21, of Park City, and Ruben Anthony Morales, age 30, of Phoenix, Arizona, pled guilty in June to kidnapping the boy when he went outside to retrieve a phone from his family’s vehicle in the Elk Meadows apartment complex. Morales also entered a no contest plea for a case in which he was accused of assaulting a fellow inmate, a third-degree felony.
On Aug. 29, Third District Court Judge Paige Petersen sentenced Morales to five years to life at for aggravated robbery and one-to-15 years for kidnapping, with credit for 613 days. He also received a zero-to-five year sentence for assaulting a man after he called him a “child violator,” according to court documents.
Vasquez-Nava was also sentenced five years to life for aggravated robbery and one-to-15 years kidnapping. The judge imposed a one-year jail sentence for failure to stop at the command of law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor.
“This resolution is one that was crafted with significant input and feedback from the victim’s family and they are satisfied,” said Ryan Stack, Summit County prosecuting attorney. “Most importantly it lets them move on and they want to be able to put this behind them.
“My understanding with something of this magnitude is that it really does have an impact and obviously did have an impact on the child,” he said. “The child is making positive steps to move forward. This will allow them to close the chapter.”
Morales and Vasquez-Nava were arrested outside of a Park City gas station on Dec. 26, 2014. When law enforcement officials searched the suspect’s vehicle, they found an 11-year-old boy who had been reported missing earlier in the evening from the Elk Meadows apartment complex in the Snyderville Basin.
At around 12:30 a.m., the boy’s mother contacted dispatch after he went to retrieve a cell phone from the family’s vehicle and failed to return. The family also reported their green Isuzu Rodeo missing.
After he had grabbed his mother’s phone, the child was confronted by Vasquez-Nava, who lived in Elk Meadows, and Morales. They demanded money from him, but when the boy told the defendants that he didn’t have any, they demanded his cell phone and keys to the car, according to court documents. Vasquez-Nava then grabbed the boy and forced him into the car.
He asked “whether he was going to die and Vasquez-Nava replied, ‘No, but you are coming with us,’” according to court documents.
Vasquez-Nava and Morales drove to three different convenience stores in Summit County and attempted to buy beer, but were turned away. Park City police officers noticed the vehicle parked in an alleyway near a Park City gas station and approached the vehicle causing Morales to run. He was later tased into compliance.
Vaszquesz-Nava ignored officers’ commands to stop and began walking away before he was apprehended as well, documents state.
Vasquez-Nava, who is not a citizen, was on probation when the incident occurred. Stack said his case will be later reviewed by Immigrant Customs Enforcement regarding deportation.
Morales, who was a parole fugitive from Arizona at the time of the kidnapping, may face extradition after serving some or all of his sentence.
Meredith Reed was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and said she sees an opportunity to ride the so-called blue wave that saw a Democratic surge nationally and within the state.