Grand Junction teen pushes cellphone panic button after convicted sex offender kidnaps him

Grand Junction police freed a juvenile boy and arrested a repeat child molester after the alleged victim pushed a cell phone panic alarm moments after his kidnapping Thursday night, authorities say.

Aaron Scott Smith

Aaron Scott Smith, 47, of Utah, has been arrested for investigation of kidnapping, internet luring of a child, child enticement, sexual assault on a child, unlawful sexual contact without consent, obstructing a police officer and having vehicle license plates that are not clearly visible, according to a news release by Grand Junction police.

The victim told police that he met a person he thought was a 13- or 14-year-old boy on a social media application called “Kik.” After communicating for several days, the person messaged him and said he was in town and wanted to meet him.

They agreed on a location to meet, and when the victim walked to the location, Smith allegedly drove up to him, called the boy by name and told him to get in the car. The boy got into the car and immediately activated an emergency alarm on his cell phone.

About 13 minutes later, Grand Junction police — guided by the cell phone alarm signal — found the alleged kidnapper’s car at 7:38 p.m. near Hayes Drive and Miranda Street. The car with tinted windows was parked in a dark location of the street. The license place was obscured by a dark tinted cover, the news release says.

Officers shone a spotlight on the vehicle to check for occupants. The front seat was unoccupied, but what appeared to be a man could be seen in the back seat. When officers approached the vehicle, the man began to climb into the front seat.

Officers yelled at the man, ordering him to put his hands on the steering wheel, when the suspect tried to put a key into the ignition. The man obeyed the order and climbed out of the car when police told him to do so.

Police found the boy in the back seat of the car.

When authorities did a criminal background check they discovered that Smith had an extensive criminal history with numerous felony convictions related to sexual crimes against children.

“We’re grateful the victim had the presence of mind to utilize the tools he had available to call for help so law enforcement could locate him,” the news release says. “We urge parents to talk to their children about the way they use social media, what they’re accessing on the internet, and have important conversations about how to stay safe. It’s imperative that kids have a trusted adult they can talk to and ask questions when exposed to information and applications that can create dangerous situations for them.”

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