The parents of a toddler in state custody took the boy from a local hospital Saturday morning and may have taken him to the wilderness to hide out, police believe.
David Fink, 20 months old, was taken during a supervised visit at Primary Children's Medical Center."The father is a self-proclaimed prophet and survivalist," University police detective Mike McPharlin said. "We've been told that the mother (gave birth) to the child in the wilderness."
The Division of Child and Family Services was planning to place the boy into the care of a foster home Saturday afternoon. His parents, Christopher and Kindra Fink, apparently didn't like the idea.
The child was hospitalized on Monday because he was malnourished and dehydrated, police said. The father limited the child's diet to only "pure foods."
"He would only let the child eat foods he deemed pure enough," McPharlin said. "The only food (he thought) pure enough right now was watermelon and lettuce - and he got those on a limited basis."
The couple was visiting the child Saturday morning under the supervision of a nurse and nurse's aide. The parents took the child for a walk in the hospital's lobby when Kindra Fink said she had to return to the child's room, hospital spokesman Bill Barnes said.
Instead, she went outside and got the car ready, investigators believe. Christopher Fink, 23, then made a mad dash out the hospital doors holding the boy. The nurse's aide chased himbut couldn't catch up.
"He literally dove into the car and they screeched out of here," Barnes said.
The nurse's aide grabbed onto a door handle, trying to get the car to stop. She was dragged over the concrete at least 30 feet before letting go, University police officer Dave Larsen said. She sustained scratches and bruises but no serious injuries. The car sped away.
Police are also concerned that Kindra Fink is pregnant and is due in early October.
"If she had the first child in the wilderness, we think she'll have another one in the wilderness," McPharlin added.
The only address the couple have is a post office box. They are transients who live in the wilderness.
"I don't know what kind of survival training he has," McPharlin said. "But he's been surviving out there for a couple of years."
Police put out a description of the Finks' vehicle, a faded red 1986 Subaru, to police departments all over the country. It has Utah license plates, 126 KHV. Officers also notified national forest rangers, and Bureau of Land Management officials since they could be in the wilderness.
Kindra Fink has family members living in West Valley City. Investigators said they received most of their information from the woman's sister and her husband.
"They told us that we won't catch them," McPharlin said. "Chris is smart, clever and cunning, they said."
Kindra Fink is a Utah native. Christopher Fink is from Pennsylvania, police believe. That's where his mother lives. Officers didn't know if the two belonged to any particular religious group.
"I'm not sure if he's part of a religion," McPharlin said. "He just thinks he's a prophet who can receive revelation."
The toddler became stable and healthy during the five days in the hospital. But police are worried that will change under the care of the Finks.
Family members told investigators Saturday that the child nearly died from lack of nourishment before he was hospitalized, saying he had a bloated stomach and a boney structure.
"A friend of the family thinks that the child will probably die if we don't find them," McPharlin said. "That the parents will think nothing of it, attributing it to the will of God."