On Thursday, December 6, at approximately 7:38pm, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were dispatched to a report of a panic alarm in the area of the 600 Block of 26 Road that had been activated from a cell phone. Dispatchers with the Grand Junction Regional Communications Center were able to track the alarm from the cell phone signal.
Officers responded to the area where the signal was coming from, near Hayes Drive and Miranda Street, and located a passenger car parked in a dark location on the street. The windows of the vehicle had a dark tint on them, and the license plate was also obscured by a dark tinted cover.
Officers shone a spotlight on the vehicle to check for occupants. The front seat was unoccupied, but what appeared to be an adult male could be seen in the back seat. When officers approached the vehicle, the adult male could be seen climbing from the back seat into the front seat of the vehicle. The male attempted to put the keys into the ignition of the vehicle, at which time officers yelled commands for the male to put his hands on the steering wheel. The male complied and was asked to exit the car, which he did.
The adult male was detained, and a juvenile male was located in the backseat of the car. The juvenile male was interviewed by police and stated that he had met a male he believed to be 13 or 14 years of age via a social media app called “Kik.” After communicating for several days, the male messaged the victim and said he was in town and wanted to meet with the victim. They agreed on a location to meet, and when the victim walked to the location, an adult male, identified as the suspect, approached in a vehicle, called the victim by name, and told the victim to get in the car. The victim got in the vehicle, and immediately activated an emergency alarm on his phone. Approximately 13 minutes elapsed from the time the alarm activation call came into dispatch to the time officers located the car.
The suspect, identified as Aaron Scott Smith, age 47, of Utah, has a criminal history showing numerous felony convictions related to sexual crimes against children. Smith was arrested and remanded to the Mesa County Jail on charges of Internet Luring of a Child (F5), First Degree Kidnapping (F2), Enticement of a Child (F4), Sexual Assault on a Child (F4), Unlawful Sexual Contact without Consent (M1), Obstructing a Peace Officer (M2), and Vehicle Plates Not Clearly Visible.
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. 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.