Rock Springs Man Faces Kidnapping Charge, Bond Set at $150,000

Rock Springs Man Faces Kidnapping Charge, Bond Set at $150,000

Cody Birdwell. Sweetwater County Detention Center image

ROCK SPRINGS – A man accused of holding his wife against her will and threatening to shoot her faces the possibility of a long prison sentence and had his bond set Tuesday afternoon in an initial appearance hearing before Circuit Court Judge Craig Jones.

Cody Birdwell, 49, of Rock Springs, appeared on felony charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault, and battery, along with two counts of misdemeanor domestic battery, interference with emergency calls, and violation of a protection order. Kidnapping has two potential penalties attached to it – a defendant can face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 if the victim was released “substantially unharmed and in a safe place prior to trial,” or can face no less than 20 years and up to life in prison as well as a $10,000 if the victim is not voluntarily released unharmed before trial. Charging documents filed by the Sweetwater County Attorney’s Office list both potential penalties in its kidnapping allegation. The aggravated assault charge carries a possible maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, while the four misdemeanor charges each have a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail and a $750 fine.

Birdwell’s bond was set at $150,000 cash or surety. The amount was sought by Deputy Sweetwater County Prosecuting Attorney Alex Breckenridge due to the violent nature of the allegations against Birdwell, as well as the fact a firearm was involved and hostage negotiators were called to help defuse the alleged incident. Birdwell, appearing on video from the Sweetwater County Detention Center, said it was an amount he couldn’t pay and told Jones to do what he needed to do. 

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A preliminary hearing was set for July 17 at 10:30 a.m. Bond conditions include a no-contact order with his wife and children. 

According to court documents, Rock Springs Police Department Det. Jennifer Saloga was contacted by Sgt. Amanda Clawson Monday at 6 p.m. regarding an ongoing incident regarding Birdwell allegedly not allowing his wife to leave and threatening to shoot her if officers came through the door. Three children were also locked in a vehicle outside of the apartment, located at 3200 Foothill Blvd. Officers were able to break the vehicle window and get the children out.

The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office had served Birdwell with a temporary domestic violence protection order, which stated Birdwell’s wife would be granted sole ownership of the residence while the order is in effect and ordered Birdwell to vacate the residence. When Birdwell’s wife was informed the order had been served, she arrived at the residence and locked her children in her vehicle before walking inside. Upon entering, she contacted emergency dispatch and said Birdwell was inside the apartment and alleged he threatened to shoot, telling the dispatcher that he was barricading the front door. A witness contacted dispatch shortly after, claiming to have received a text for Birdwell that stated, “she’ll never live to see you again.” The mother of Birdwell’s wife also contacted dispatchers, saying she received a phone call from her daughter, where she alleged Birdwell had a gun against her head.

A hostage negotiator made contact with Birdwell over the phone and Birdwell allegedly confirmed he was in the house and knew he wasn’t supposed to be there. Birdwell also allegedly told the negotiator that he would not let his wife leave and that she would have to remove the barricade to get out, as well as allegedly making statements about the situation being a kidnapping and how many years he could possibly get. Birdwell also allegedly told the negotiator that his wife had attempted to take the gun from him and he had punched her in the face, saying he did it because officers wouldn’t listen to him earlier that morning, saying he had attempted to contact the suicide hotline.

At 9:29 p.m., Birdwell’s wife was released from the residence and was taken to Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County for evaluation. At 9:41 p.m., Birdwell willingly surrendered, leaving the residence, and allowed himself to be arrested without incident.