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Children in state custody after US Marshals arrest kidnapping suspect in Summit County

The U.S. Marshals Service apprehended a man in Silver Creek Village Saturday.
Courtesy Brian Demmert
The U.S. Marshals Service apprehended the man in Silver Creek Village Saturday.

Two children are in state protective custody after federal officers arrested a California kidnapping suspect in Silver Creek Village Saturday, May 4.

The U.S. Marshals Service responded Saturday in a child abduction investigation that concluded in Summit County.

40-year-old California resident Gabriel Omar Gigena was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping of a minor, parental deprivation of child custody and child abduction.

U.S. Marshals Service public information officer Mark Thomson said investigators believe the man fled California on April 29. A warrant for his arrest was issued out of Bakersfield, Calif., on May 3, and officers took him into custody the next day.

“We got the warrant, and then we followed up on the investigative leads from California,” he said. “We tracked him into a park there in Summit County.”

Brian Demmert, a resident of Silver Creek Village, said he was on a walk Saturday when he saw the dramatic arrest by the neighborhood playground.

“I saw somebody just running down the middle of the parking lot,” he said. “Two officers, I’m assuming officers of some police agency, got out, and within probably 10 or 15 seconds, there was another two or three unmarked police cars that came in and completely blocked it off.”

Demmert said the officers had tackled the running man and handcuffed him. Then Summit County deputies arrived for two children, who were in the parking lot near where the man was arrested.

“Those other officers showed up within seconds, ran and grabbed those kids and picked them up in their arms,” he said.

Summit County Sheriff’s Sgt. Skyler Talbot said both children are younger than school-age.

“The Summit County Sheriff's Office did take two minor children into temporary protective custody,” he said. “They were released to the custody of the Utah [Division] of Child and Family Services.”

He said county deputies were there to provide support if it was needed, and their only role was getting the children safely into state custody.

Gigena was booked into the Salt Lake County jail. His initial appearance in federal court in Salt Lake City was Monday afternoon.