David James Bell

Another potentially tragic kidnapping in South Salt Lake was thwarted over the weekend when a mother recognized the screams from two of her children, who reportedly had been forcibly taken to a house next door. They were saved from harm.

Tuesday, David James Bell was charged in 3rd District Court with two counts of first-degree child kidnapping and burglary, a second-degree felony.

On Friday, July 4, the family of a 2-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy had invited people, including Bell, their next-door neighbor, over for a party, according to police. The parents entertained party guests outside but frequently checked on their children sleeping on the sofa inside, according to court documents and police.

About 6:30 a.m., Tlulu Latu went to check on her children again and discovered the girl was missing. That's when Latu heard what police say only a parent would know: the cries of their own children. Latu went into Bell's house next door and found both her children in his bedroom.

"We don't know what (Bell's) intentions were," said South Salt Lake police detective Gary Keller.

Few other details about the incident were revealed Tuesday, including whether the children had been assaulted, although Bell was not charged with assaulting them.

Already this year, South Salt Lake police have investigated and solved one of the state's most high-profile child abductions and killings in Utah. In April, 7-year-old Hser Nay Moo was kidnapped and killed by a man living in her apartment complex. Esar Met, 21, was later charged in 3rd District Court with aggravated murder.

A check of court records showed Bell had only a misdemeanor charge of DUI on his record in 3rd District Court. The charge was later pleaded down to reckless endangerment. He was also taken to court in 2004 for failing to pay child support, according to court records.


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