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D.A. Gill frustrated with impasse over fugitive Utah mom

Published October 21, 2013 10:04 pm

Crime • Arrest warrant issued in Utah stymied in Spokane.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

An apparent impasse over efforts to arrest a woman who fled to Washington state with her toddler son from his Utah custodial parent's home has Salt Lake County's district attorney angry and frustrated.

Sim Gill said Monday that little progress has been made in persuading Spokane (Wash.) County court and law enforcement officials to honor a 3rd District Court arrest order for 19-year-old Lady Ashley Marks. She is accused of having absconded with 15-month-old Giovanni Marks on Oct. 14 during what was supposed to be a supervised visit to the Murray home of Brandon Marks, who has legal custody of his son.

The next day, Gill's office issued an arrest warrant charging the mother with third-degree felony custodial interference across state lines. A Spokane County sheriff's deputy located the mother and child at a residence in that eastern Washington city, but after being told by the mother she would not surrender herself or the child, the deputy left without arresting her.

Both Gill and Murray police spokesman Kenny Bass said Spokane County court officials initially said that the Utah court-provided documents — including the custody order, affidavits and the arrest warrant — did not meet Washington state legal requirements for interstate service.

Gill said Monday that his office had resubmitted the documents in question. "We have filed all of the appropriate paperwork and Spokane still won't process it," he said.

"We continue to try to get them to execute [the warrant] but they refuse to do so, let alone even taking the child into custody," Gill said. "I have a defendant who absconded with the child … and now we don't even know where she or the child are."

Bass confirmed that it seemed Spokane law officers had let the mother slip from their grasp. An officer recently returned to the home where she had been initially found, but she had left with the child for an unknown destination.

"At this point, I understand that Spokane may [decide to] serve the arrest warrant [on the mother]," Bass said, ,"but won't take the child into protective custody, for whatever reason."

What the next step may be is undetermined. Gill said the possibility of sending Utah law officers to Washington to serve the warrant is being explored, but that would require Spokane County's approval.

Added Bass: "It's all confusing right now, more of a bureaucratic thing more than anything else."

Numerous inquiries to both the Spokane County sheriff's and prosecutor's offices about the case had gone unanswered as of Monday.

During the Murray visit, Marks allegedly waited until the boy's paternal grandmother briefly left the room to flee the house with the baby. Police were able to trace her route through Utah, Idaho and Montana to Washington by pinging her cellphone.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims