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Man arrested in Magna carjacking attempt

(Salt Lake County Jail)

MAGNA — A man has been booked into the Salt Lake County Jail after police say he tried to carjack a woman in Magna, knowing that her baby was in the vehicle.

Police say it started at the Smith’s on 3500 South near 8000 West.  The victim was filling up her tire when she was reportedly approached by the suspect, Jose Cortez, who offered to help her.  Unified Police Sergeant Melody Gray says the victim was nervous around Cortez, so she refused.  She even made up a lie to make him leave.

Gray says, “She’s trying everything she can.  [She says] ‘No, I’m good.  My husbands on his way,’ hoping he was just going to go away and leave her alone.”

Cortez allegedly pretended to walk away after the victim started making a phone call, but, he didn’t stay away for long.

“She got back out of her car to continue filling her tire and he came back and asked if her husband was coming,” Gray says.

That’s when the attack became violent.

“He then attempted to get into the car and was in the front driver’s seat when she was pulling on him, pushing him and fighting him and telling him, ‘My child is in the car.  Please, don’t do this,’” according to Gray.

The victim was able to keep Cortez from leaving with the car until a witness stopped and called 911.  Cortez then left the scene and was arrested a short time later.

Gray says this rises to the level of aggravated kidnapping since Cortez knew there was a young child inside.

“His intent was absolutely to take that car, with that child inside and he knew the child was in the car,” she adds.