Arrest made in case of missing Herriman girl
HERRIMAN, Utah – An arrest has been made in the disappearance of a Herriman girl last week.
Brooklyn Gittins, 13, went missing from her Herriman home last Tuesday evening, January 8. She was dressed in pajamas, no shoes and no eyeglasses. Police and hundreds of volunteers searched for Brooklyn over two days.
Lt. Justin Hoyal with the Unified Police Department said Angel Garcia, 55, was arrested Wednesday evening.
According to the probable cause statement, Brooklyn called Garcia using a pre-paid cell phone her had given her. He picked her up at the home and took her to his home in Draper.
Garcia told police he picked Brooklyn up because she was upset, but he never asked for details.
Police did question Garcia during the search for Brooklyn and they said he made active efforts to hide her during the 48 hours she was missing. According to the probable cause statement, Brooklyn hid in a bedroom while Garcia spoke with police.
Garcia said he took the girl to a Draper Walmart at her request, where Brooklyn contacted her grandmother on Thursday.
After being reunited with her family on Thursday, Brooklyn refused to talk to Unified Police about where she’d been and who she’d been with. She finally opened up about the incident on Wednesday, allowing police to get a search warrant and arrest Garcia.
When FOX 13 went to Garcia’s home, no one was home, but there was evidence that police had forced their way into his home before arresting him.
Neighbor James Taylor says police were at Garcia’s home last Wednesday, the day after Brooklyn disappeared, so he may have been on their radar from the beginning.
Taylor says he asked Garcia why the police had been questioning him, and Garcia said Brooklyn knew one of his daughters.
“Yeah, he said he had two daughters,” Taylor said. “That she was friends with one of his daughters in the past.”
Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder said Wednesday night that Garcia and Brooklyn knew each other prior to what police are calling a kidnapping, but don’t know the exact nature of that relationship.
Winder said the pair were in several locations, and investigators are still tracking down those locations.
Garcia is charged with kidnapping, harboring a runaway, obstructing justice and child endangerment. Formal charges are expected on Friday.