How an app saved a 14-year-old girl kidnapped, taken to Airbnb


SANTA FE, NM – MARCH 24, 2018: A teenage girl carries her smartphone in her back pocket as she walks in Santa Fe, Mexico. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

A quick-thinking 14-year-old girl used a smartphone app to get help after she was kidnapped and taken to an Airbnb, according to police. 

Salt Lake City Police said early Saturday morning, officers received a notification from the SafeUT app that a teenage girl had been taken and was being held hostage by an older adult male. 

Police believe the man earlier kidnapped the girl as she walked home and attempted to lure her inside his car with alcohol and food. Police said the girl tried to run away, but the man caught her and forced her into the vehicle. 

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The man took her to a nearby rental home where he again offered her alcohol and food, according to police. 

However, the victim downloaded the SafeUT and reported her kidnapping after being unable to get in touch with family and friends. An alert was then sent to officers. 

Officers responded to the rental home and took the suspected kidnapper into custody after a two-hour standoff. 

26-year-old Jonathan Simonji is charged with one count of second-degree felony kidnapping. He is currently booked in the Salt Lake County Jail. 

Police believe Simonji did not know the victim. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles. 
 

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