Utah: Michigan Man Faces Kidnapping Charges After Gas Station Tip-Off


In a dramatic sequence of events, Utah Highway Patrol troopers arrested 38-year-old Richard Lyneal Phillips from Michigan on June 20 in Emery County, Utah, following a tip-off from a note left in a gas station restroom. Phillips is accused of one count of kidnapping, a second-degree felony, alongside several misdemeanor charges, including violating a protective order and providing false personal information to a peace officer.

According to a probable cause statement, the victim, a woman, had scribbled a desperate message in the gas station bathroom, alerting troopers to her predicament. The note included a phone number and a warning that she was being held against her will. Authorities traced the call and located Phillips and the victim in Green River, Emery County. However, Phillips allegedly provided false identification and had a marijuana cigarette in the center console of his vehicle.

A brief standoff ensued as a deputy pointed his taser at the suspect before cuffing and detaining him. The victim appeared visibly shaken and emotional at the time, prompting authorities to question both suspects. The victim revealed that Phillips had physically assaulted her multiple times while keeping her captive, and officials documented scratches on her body corroborating her claims.

Background checks revealed that Phillips had active warrants in Ohio for robbery, drug possession, strangulation, and assault. Authorities also discovered a Michigan warrant for strangulation and drug possession. Furthermore, an active protective order against Phillips, issued by the victim, was unearthed.

According to investigators, the victim reported that Phillips ambushed her in Michigan, demanding she drive him to Colorado. She tried repeatedly to contact authorities while they were at hotels, but Phillips would flee and return after the police departed. Eventually, desperate and fearing for her life, she left the note in the bathroom, sparking the police investigation that led to her and Phillips’ capture.

Phillips has since been booked into the Emery County Jail, awaiting further legal proceedings.

Aubree B. Jennings
Aubree B. Jennings
Digital Reporter. Aubree’s love for storytelling came through years of hearing stories from strangers. She grew up selling candies in the local tiendas in Mexico, building houses and tutoring centers in Ecuador. Aubree received a bachelor’s degree in Communications — Journalism and a minor in International Strategy and Diplomacy from Brigham Young University.

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