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St. George moms recount tracking down sex offender accused of enticing daughters

<i>KSL</i><br/>Two St. George mothers
KSL
KSL
Two St. George mothers

By LAUREN STEINBRECHER

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    ST. GEORGE, Utah (KSL) — Two St. George mothers are recounting the sickening experience of tracking down the man they believe tried to randomly abduct their 8-year-old daughters.

They were horrified to learn about the man’s past, and glad they acted upon the red flags.

That suspect is now in jail, and the women credit their daughters for being vigilant with a description while the parents didn’t give up digging into the man’s identity.

Last week, Emily and Brynn’s daughters had an idea to pass the time during Fall Break — set up a neighborhood stand to sell odds ‘n ends. They put out trinkets and toys they no longer use and bracelets the girls made.

The moms, who wanted to keep their last names private because of the nature of the situation, didn’t know a seemingly nice, loyal customer visited the girls a few times over the course of the two days.

Emily and Brynn said on Wednesday, a man showed up to see what the girls were selling, but didn’t have cash, so he didn’t buy anything. He later came back with cash and purchased items like a phone case, erasers, and silly putty.

“He purchased things, made them excited for when he showed up again that second day,” Brynn explained.

The second day, they said the man bought a bracelet and a stickerpack. Later that evening, Emily’s daughter told her about the customer and how he didn’t just try to buy things from the girls.

“My daughter said, ‘Mom, someone tried to get us into his car.’ And I was like, ‘Excuse me? What’s going on?’” Emily recounted. “I started to get more details. They said, ‘Yeah, he told us he needed help cleaning the chapel and he tried to get us into his car.’”

“And my daughter said that she needed to ask her mom, and he continued to say, ‘We don’t have time to ask your mom. I can help you get your supplies in the car for you,” Brynn said. “He got on his phone — and now we know he was pretending — but he got on his phone to talk as if someone was at the chapel telling them they needed to hurry. And he said, ‘Yes I can get them. We’re trying to hurry.’ And the girls told him ‘no’ again, and then he did leave.”

The parents called police and began to see if they could figure out who he was. The moms explained how the girls were very observant and were able to give a description of the man, his age, and his car.

“The girls knew every single detail about him,” Emily said. “They knew he was a bald man with glasses, and that he was driving a red car. My daughter mentioned that there was a silver cougar in motion jumping off the front of it. So we knew it was a red Jaguar.”

Brynn said her husband pulled up the sex offender website to look for registered offenders in the area who matched the girls’ description.

“When they saw him, they both immediately picked him out,” Brynn said.

The man listed: Andrew Gwilliam, convicted in 2003 of felony aggravated kidnapping and attempted forcible sex abuse of a 12-year old girl in Sandy.

“Hearing his history and hearing what he’d already done, it definitely, it definitely was shocking,” Emily said.

“It did make it a lot more real when we saw what his intentions probably were,” Brynn echoed.

The next day, as Brynn and her husband were backing out of Emily’s driveway after dropping the girls off, she described how they saw the maroon Jaguar drive by right near where the girls had set up their stand the previous two days.

“So we chased him. My husband chased him, and we called 911 until the cops were able to go pull him over,” Brynn said.

She said that officers spent a long time talking to who they assumed was Gwilliam, but eventually let him go.

Worried that he would return to the area, the women explained that the neighborhood jumped into action and someone hung fliers warning of suspicious activity with Gwilliam’s photo.

Everyone was on alert the entire weekend.

“He messed with the wrong neighborhood and community,” Brynn said. “Everyone loves the kids, and we don’t want these little kids to get hurt.”

Emily indicated that she was able to find Gwilliam’s Adult Probation and Parole officer and reach out. The pair said the AP&P officer took care of everything from there, booking Gwilliam into jail Monday morning in St. George on parole violations related to the incident. St. George police later came in with additional offenses of Sex Offender Request, Invites, or Solicits Child to Accompany the Registrant.

The families are now relieved, and thankful they took action — and that the girls were vigilant.

“We went together and we fought hard and we fought fast,” Brynn said. “And these girls with their details, they were amazing. They solved the case for us.”

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