Four California residents pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of custodial interference and aggravated burglary in an attempt to take a 20-month-old boy from his guardian's home.
The child purportedly was taken at gunpoint on Saturday from the Hooper residence of James C. and Evelyn Neal. The child was recovered about 45 minutes later when police stopped a station wagon on I-15 near Honeyville.During arraignment before 3rd Circuit Judge Alfred C. Van Wagenen, the child's biological mother, Carol Holleran, 30, pleaded not guilty to custodial interference, a class A misdemeanor. Her bond was set at $1,500 and she was scheduled to appear for a non-jury trial Nov. 22.
Three other defendants - Robert Via, 28; Mark Via, 26, brother to Robert Via; and Darla Jean Via, 44, Robert's mother - all were charged with custodial interference and aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony.
Bail was set at $11,000 each and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Nov. 22 to determine whether they should be bound over for trial in 3rd District Court.
All four defendants listed Garden Grove, Calif., as their hometown.
Police said a large, black air pistol that closely resembled a .45-caliber automatic allegedly was used to threaten the Neals. The child, who was uninjured, has been placed in the custody of the State Division of Family Services.
Police said the incident stemmed from a custody dispute that began about two weeks ago when Holleran returned to Utah to claim the baby.
Chief Deputy Sam VanderHeide of the Weber County sheriff's office, 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 she had been given custody of the child by the court. She declined on the advice of her attorney to comment further.