On January 22, 2021, just after 11 pm, YCSO deputies were called to a convenience store in the 2700 block of Highway 69, Humboldt, Arizona. Employees stated that 26-year-old Cody Smith walked out of the store with a can of beer and a soda and sped away in a 2011 Ford Escort vehicle. Using the license plate information, deputies went to the address of record in Dewey but could not locate either Smith or his vehicle.
A short time later, Smith’s abandoned Ford Escort was found on I-17 near Cordes Junction. It appeared the vehicle ran out of gas.
The following morning, January 23, 2021, at approximately 4:15 am, deputies were dispatched to the Sunset Point Rest stop after learning Smith had carjacked and kidnapped a 42-year-old woman in the Cordes Junction area. He forced her to drive to Sunset Point where she was able to escape. Deputies arrived and found Smith at the rest stop and he was arrested and booked on a theft charge related to the shoplifting incident. Deputies were unable to reach the kidnapping victim to clarify the circumstances for charging on that incident, so in the meantime, Smith was released on a promise to appear around noon on January 23, 2021.
Late in the evening of January 23, 2021, deputies were able to locate and contact the 42-year-old victim. She related the following – traveling to Phoenix from Prescott, she merged onto I-17 south from Highway 69 in Cordes Junction. She noted that the road was very wet, and it was raining hard at the time. As she drove south on I-17, a man suddenly jumped in front of her car and she swerved to avoid hitting him. She pulled over to the side of the road, scared and shaking and wanted to make sure she did not hit the man. As she was calling 911, the man appeared next to her car and grabbed the phone from her before she was able to speak.
The man, later identified as suspect Cody Smith, jumped in the front passenger seat and directed her to drive him to California. The victim feared if she did not comply, Smith would harm her. As they drove south on I-17, YCSO dispatch called back to follow-up on the disconnected 911 call. Smith hung up the call and refused to let her use her cell phone.
As they approached the Sunset Point rest area, the victim pretended she needed to use the restroom and convinced Smith to let her stop. Smith followed her into the woman’s restroom and then they both returned to the car. When Smith went to the driver’s side, the victim told him she did not want him to drive. As Smith began walking to the passenger side, the victim was able to jump in her car and drive off before Smith could get inside. He began yelling at her as she drove away.
It was a short time later when a deputy spotted Smith at the Sunset Point rest stop and arrested him for involvement in the shoplifting incident.
After speaking with the victim, the investigating deputies were dispatched to Smith’s house in Dewey regarding a trespassing complaint. Dispatch personnel alerted deputies that the suspect was likely the person also responsible for the kidnapping. The suspect’s father indicated Smith was not allowed on the property. During a search of the premises, Smith was found hiding in a shed and arrested. With details of the kidnapping incident now on record, Smith was booked into the Camp Verde Detention Center on the following charges –
Kidnapping (Seize control of a vehicle), Unlawful Imprisonment (Restraining Another), Disorderly Conduct, Threatening, Endangerment, Intentionally prevent the use of a telephone in an emergency, Recklessly interfere with passage of highway, Causing a condition that endangers the safety of others and Placing an individual in fear of physical injury. He remains in-custody on a $25,000 bond.
The victim did an outstanding job in the case by thinking through the incident and taking advantage of an opportunity to escape.