Douglas C. Pizac, Associated Press
Perry and Julianna Redd Myers attend hearing last month in Provo. Her parents are facing kidnapping charges.

PROVO — Had it been a traditional wedding, with an elegant dress, flowers and a chocolate tiered cake, Julianna Redd Myers would have happily shared her story with the world.

Yet the flood of attention came only when the Brigham Young University student missed her own August wedding. The 21-year-old was a state away in Colorado, allegedly driven there against her will by her parents, Lemuel and Julia Redd, in a now-famous last-minute attempt to stop her from marrying 23-year-old Perry Myers.

The Redds drove their daughter back to Provo the next day, when she told them she wouldn't marry Myers. But, once back in the city, she was able to flee with her fiance, and they married a few days later. A few weeks after

that, the Utah County attorney filed kidnapping charges against the Redds in 4th District Court.

The charges and subsequent court appearances have fueled a media frenzy, and the story of the "kidnapped bride" from Utah has become fodder for many newspapers, television and radio reports.

"If it were my choice," Julianna Myers said during an interview with the Deseret Morning News this week, "we'd be living in the mountains in a cabin."

Her husband, though, says the public needs "to stop seeing this as a family feud and see it as a criminal act. ... It's hard to understand because it's so bizarre. People can't believe this took place.

"It's so frustrating. They look like this innocent farm family," Perry Myers said. "People simply don't want to believe."

Julianna, who dispelled rumors she was pregnant at the time of her marriage but has since found out she is expecting, said she wants to move on, to leave it all behind her, but more than that she wants her parents to admit they were wrong.

Still, she says, she and Perry feel like they have to shield their new child from the influence of her parents, particularly Julia Redd, whom Julianna describes as controlling, possessive and irrational.

"We have to protect our new baby," Julianna said. "I don't trust my mom."

"You do it her way or there's no stopping," Perry Myers added.

Once, he says, Julia Redd looked him in the eye and said, "In this family, I am in charge, and you will do exactly what I say."

Julianna says she's tired of hearing her parents during television interviews paint her as a disobedient, heartless child who wants to see them in prison.

"I'm past forgiveness," Julianna Myers says. "I can't do anything more. They'll have to (show) accountability."

The Redds maintain they have accepted responsibility, even though they don't feel their actions are criminal. They say they were just being concerned parents.

"For right or wrong, they saw some signs (in Perry) that they thought were pretty ... (concerning)," said Craig McLachlan, a legal-matters specialist who is working with the Redds. "Right or wrong, they thought they needed to take action. They absolutely never contemplated that this action would rise to the level of kidnapping."

The case has been set for trial in July, unless the sides reach a resolution before then. Deputy Utah County Attorney Curtis Larson couldn't comment on a potential resolution or even if there have been talks about a resolution.

"I think it should have been mediated out," McLachlan said. "They aren't criminals. This should be settled in the family room, not the courtroom."

McLachlan said the Redds have been evaluated by professionals and are willing to proceed with any recommended counseling.

But Julianna tells a much different story. The morning of Aug. 4, Julianna's parents picked her up from her Provo apartment, telling her they wanted to take her on a shopping trip. Instead of going to stores, the Redds headed south on I-15.

Then, she says, her parents spent the next several hours trying to convince her that she should not marry Perry. The Redds stopped at a gas station in Salina where Julianna says she was escorted to the bathroom. But when she refused to get back in the van, Julianna said her parents grabbed her wrists and hair and tried to force her in.

McLachlan says Julianna had several chances to get away or make phone calls and didn't. The couple continued east and spent the night in Grand Junction, Colo., in a hotel the Redds had reserved two days earlier, police say.

Julianna said she spent a long night in the hotel, scared and throwing up.

Her cell phone had been taken by her mom, and she said she didn't run because she was too frightened.

Her parents painted a different picture during their interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

They said Julianna got physical with them at the gas station and later told them to take the scenic route back to Provo.

Those things just aren't true, Julianna said with disbelief. "Why would I even lie about this?

"(This case) clarifies to society that you can't do this because you're a parent and you want to," Julianna said. "You're accountable, no matter who you are."

A judge ordered the Redds, who say they have tried to extend an olive branch, to have no contact with their daughter.

Regardless, Julianna and Perry say, there is nothing to discuss until the Redds can speak honestly about what happened.

"This has turned into a social case," Perry Myers said. "People can relate to (this in) some level. There are a lot of people watching to see how this turns out."


E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com