November 27, 2020

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Five charged with kidnapping woman from store bathroom, charges state

SALT LAKE CITY — Five women are accused of dragging a woman from a bathroom stall and forcing her into a vehicle.

Siosiane Taufa, 26, of Salt Lake City; Cesia Ortiz, 27, of Heber City; Akanesi Vasitia Tongia, 25, of Salt Lake City; Patsy Lao, 40, of Sandy; and Irene McIntosh, 32, of Taylorsville, were each charged Thursday in 3rd District Court with kidnapping, a first-degree felony.

On Oct. 20, a woman locked herself in a bathroom in a store at 900 West and 1300 South, according to charging documents. After 15 minutes, a store employee told the woman she needed to leave, the charges state. The woman told the employee that “they” were trying to kidnap her, the charges state.

The woman later told police she believed the others were going to “pimp her out,” and that they threatened to kill her if she told police, according to the charges.

After the store employee opened the bathroom door, at least five women went in and began punching the victim and pulling her hair, the charges state. After about three minutes, the women dragged the victim outside where the assault continued, according to the charges. They then picked the victim up and forced her into an SUV, the charges state. Court documents do not say how the woman escaped.

A motive for the alleged kidnapping was still unclear as of Thursday.

Lao was recently arrested in connection with the theft of several firearms at a Bountiful gun store. Formal charges had not been filed against her in that case as of Thursday.

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