A Utah teacher is facing kidnapping charges after she left school property with an autistic student and was gone for 40 minutes.
Amy Martz, 49, was a sixth grade teacher at Fox Hollow Elementary School in West Jordan, Utah. One day in early September, at the end of the school day, she escorted a mostly nonverbal 6-year-old child away from school into a nearby neighborhood.
Surveillance video shows the two walking hand-in-hand away from the school, passing a teacher on bus duty without incident.
In the process of searching for the child’s mom, Martz and the little girl walked seven-tenths of a mile away from the school, and weren’t even in the neighborhood the child lived in. Martz says she also offered to give the girl a piggyback ride.
When the child’s mother contacted the school because her child hadn’t come home yet, staff grew concerned. A teacher at the school saw Martz walking outside with the child and brought them back to the school.
They were gone approximately 40 minutes.
Martz explained her version of events in an interview with Fox 13.
“I did not kidnap a child,” Martz says.
Martz has served as either a teacher or principal for the past two decades. She also became an attorney, passing the Utah bar in 2017. Her specialty is education law.
“I’ve dedicated my life to helping children,” Martz says.
Martz says the little girl came out of the building holding her water bottle over her head and “sobbing uncontrollably.” The school had turned the water off earlier in the day, and Martz explained that’s why there was no water.
The girl continued to be upset.
“As we passed the busses, I asked, ‘Do you take the bus?’ She shook her head no,” Martz explained. “She pulled me by the hand to the crosswalk. ‘You go this way?’ I asked. She nodded, still bawling.”
Martz says that once she realized the little girl didn’t know where she was going, she turned around to head back to the school, and notified the school she had been with her.
Martz has been arrested. If she is convicted, the sentence carries 15 years to life.
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