TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — An attic space with a small bed and a pink bucket to use as a toilet.
These were the accommodations police say an Indiana man provided to a teen girl they say he kidnapped by using a fake online account and coercing her to leave her home.
Court documents filed in the case against 46-year-old Richard Kutch of Terre Haute are revealing more about how he convinced a 15-year-old girl to leave her bedroom, exit her grandparent’s house and get in his vehicle.
Investigating detectives found Kutch was operating at least one false Facebook account with which he used to communicate with the girl. Kutch reportedly admitted to police and his wife to pretending to be someone named Gavin Johnson to befriend the girl and convince her to come meet him.
However when the girl left her home the night of October 2, it instead was Kutch who she found outside. During a forensic interview at Susie’s Place, the victim said Kutch had been asked by Johnson to pick her up. Once in the vehicle, the girl told social workers Kutch drove her to his own house and took her into his attic where he gave her a bucket to pee in, telling her not to tell anyone where she was and to stay off her phone.
The girl’s grandparents explained to police that she is mentally disabled, adding she wouldn’t be able to find her way home if she left the home on her own and got more than a block away. While the grandparents were reporting the girl missing to police, her phone, which only had Wi-Fi capabilities, showed her as online on Facebook Messenger, however she wouldn’t respond to her grandparents’ messages asking where she was. Kutch then reportedly began to tell the victim’s grandmother that the girl was messaging him saying she was safe.
Detectives discovered through a Facebook search warrant for the victim’s account that she had been in communication with three people; Kutch, “Johnson”, and a third account police believed could also be tied to Kutch named Jake Bush. Detectives noted the communication with each account dated back to mid-September.
In an interview with police, Kutch’s wife denied having any knowledge of the situation and said she was unaware of the victim being in her attic until noon on Oct. 3, when Kutch reportedly called her and told her the victim was in the attic of their house.
Kutch reportedly eluded police for a few days following the girl being found before being located on Oct. 6 and brought in for questioning. During the interview with police, Kutch reportedly admitted to making the fake Facebook account under the name Gavin Johnson, and using it to be the victim’s “friend”. Police say Kutch also admitted to picking the girl up outside of her home and taking her to his home, and admitted that the girl was in his home the whole time police and family were searching for her.
Kutch was placed under arrest following the interview.
The probable cause affidavit calls for the following preliminary charges;
- A level 5 felony
- Domestic battery
- A level 5 felony
- False informing
- A class A misdemeanor
Note: the domestic battery charges stem from a separate incident involving Kutch’s children that was discovered at the same time.