OGDEN, Utah — Four Garden Grove, Calif., residents pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of custodial interference and aggravated burglary in an alleged attempt to kidnap a 20-month-old boy from his guardian's home.
The child purportedly was taken at gunpoint Saturday from the residence of James C. and Evelyn Neal. The child was recovered about 45 minutes later when police stopped a station wagon on Interstate 15 near Honeyville.
During her arraignment, the child's biological mother, Carol Holleran, 30, pleaded not guilty to custodial interference, a misdemeanor. Her bond was set at $1,500 and she was scheduled to appear for a nonjury trial next Tuesday.
Three other defendants, Robert Via, 28, his brother Mark Via, 26, and their mother Darla Jean Via, 44, were charged with custodial interference and aggravated burglary, a felony.
Bail was set at $11,000 each and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday to determine whether they should be bound over for trial.
Police said a large, black air pistol that closely resembled a .45-caliber automatic allegedly was used to threaten the Neals. The child has been placed in the custody of the state Division of Family Services.
Police said the alleged kidnaping stemmed from a custody dispute that began about 2 weeks ago when Holleran, who allegedly abandoned the infant when it was a newborn, returned to Utah to claim it.
Chief Deputy Sam VanderHeide of the Weber County Sheriff's Department said the county attorney had asked Family Services workers to check out the situation before making any decision that would affect the child's future.
Evelyn Neal said Saturday that she had been given custody of the child by the court. She declined on the advice of her attorney to comment further.