SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah police are searching for two suspects after a woman and her four teenage daughters were lured to a house and tied in a basement before they managed to escape, authorities said Wednesday.
A father and son armed with a shotgun and a baseball bat brought the five to a room where they tied them up with duct tape and wire ties Tuesday night, said Centerville police Lt. Von Steenblik.
Flint Wayne Harrison, 51, and Dereck James Harrison, 22, had invited the women to their house for a barbecue as part of a plan to retaliate against the mother for something that may have involved drugs, investigators said. The woman has a connection the younger suspect, police said.
The girls managed to escape their bonds while the men beat the mother with a baseball bat. Some of them were also hit with the bat as they ran screaming from the house and called police.
“It could have gone really bad,” Steenblik said. “Without the girls breaking free and getting loose, I’m not sure what they were going to do.”
Investigators found methamphetamine in the house, Steenblik said.
Police say the kidnapping attempt was reported about 6 p.m. and they began working the case then, but didn’t issue a news release until Wednesday morning because they don’t believe the men are a danger to the general public.
The daughters range from 13 to 18 years old, and appear to be recovering well, Steenblik said.
“All four of those girls were pretty resilient and very helpful to us,” he said.
The men drove away in a Chevrolet Suburban with Wyoming plate number AR83G. Police say the men have work and family ties to that state and they’ve been working with investigators there. Flint Harrison was placed on the sex offender registry in Wyoming after pleading guilty to attempted forcible sexual abuse in 2001, records show.
Flint Harrison and DJ Harrison were charged Wednesday with 16 counts, including aggravated kidnapping and possession of a controlled substance.
The Associated Press sought comment from the suspects, but phone numbers listed for the father were disconnected and no number was listed for the son.
The woman and one daughter were treated at a hospital for their injuries.