South Salt Lake police don’t fault bystanders for not intervening on viral abduction video

Jun 28, 2021, 3:19 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 12:11 pm

SALT LAKE CTIY — When South Salt Lake police released surveillance footage from a convenience store Friday night, showing the moments when an abduction took place in a parking lot, the video went viral. That’s in part because several bystanders can be seen in the video, and none of them tried to help the victim.

However, South Salt Lake Police told KSL TV reporter Tania Dean that those bystanders, by doing nothing, did the right thing.

What happened that night

In the video, a woman is seen running into the picture toward a black vehicle where a man is pumping gas. Another man runs toward the woman, and both of them are seen standing next to the bystander putting gasoline in his vehicle.

Next, the woman is seen being tossed over the shoulder of the man who’d chased her. The video shows the woman kicking, and recorded her cries for help.

RELATED:  Suspect arrested after South Salt Lake abduction caught on tape

Along with the man putting gas in his vehicle, there are several other people doing the same thing. And nobody is seen on the surveillance tape trying to help.

That got the attention of thousands of people who posted comments on the South Salt Lake Police Department’s Facebook page, where police had uploaded the video.

“Sometimes people freeze,” said Jenn Oxborrow, a licensed clinical social worker who spoke with Dean. “Sometimes people have their own lived experience, and so it triggers something in them.

“You would think that you would react one way, but this whole other set of reactions can come with that.”

The woman in the video was eventually found safe in West Valley City.

An upside to the viral video, abduction, and the bystanders

Oxborrow also told Dean when the video went viral it spurred conversations on social media and elsewhere. Those conversations have actually been helping to teach people what they should do in a situation like that depicted in the security camera video from Friday night.

“A lot of people have thought and talked about this to say ‘what would I do?’ What would I do if I was in this situation,” Oxborrow said.

The police say the best thing a bystander can do is to call 9-1-1, which someone at the store did. That allowed police officers to begin looking for the couple within just a few minutes.


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Crime, Police + Courts

police cars...

Mariah Maynes

SLCPD identify two killed in workplace shooting

Salt Lake City Police Department said they have identified two men who were killed in a workplace shooting on Sunday. 

13 hours ago

police cars...

Mark Jackson

Two men dead in Salt Lake workplace shooting

One man was found inside the building, another outside. Police don’t believe there’s an imminent threat.

1 day ago

Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Scot Peterson shown, a school arming school staff is aw...

Curt Gresseth

Utah lawmaker discusses arming school workers

Arming school workers will lead to safer schools, says a Utah lawmaker whose bill awaits the governor's pen to become law.

3 days ago

Bountiful police car...


One man dead after shooting in Bountiful

Officers in Bountiful arrived on the scene and found a man in his 20s with a gunshot wound. The man later died at the hospital.

5 days ago

execution chamber in idaho prison...

Associated Press

Idaho halts execution by lethal injection after 8 failed attempts to insert IV line

Thomas Eugene Creech Creech, one of the longest-serving death row inmates in the U.S., was wheeled into the execution chamber at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution on a gurney at 10 a.m.

5 days ago

Ruby Franke stands with her attorney, Lamar Winward, at her sentencing on Tuesday. Her brother and ...

Jessica Lowell

Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt transferred to Utah State Correctional Facility

The two women will each spend one to 15 years at the facility for child abuse.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

South Salt Lake police don’t fault bystanders for not intervening on viral abduction video