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Press Release

Four Utah Residents Charged with Kidnapping

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Albuquerque Field Office, announced that federal grand jury in Albuquerque returned an indictment charging Seraphine Warren-Begay, also known as Seraphine Warren, 42, of Tooele, Utah, her husband Orlando Begay, 36, of Salt Lake City, Utah, her sister Josephine Bekay, 46, of Gusher, Utah, and Bekay’s husband Nelton Alex Bekay, 48, of Gusher, Utah, all enrolled members of the Navajo Nation, with kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

According to the indictment, on March 29, 2021, Warren-Begay used Facebook to research and locate the victim, John Doe, before the group drove to John Doe’s residence in Arizona. There, the group entered John Doe’s residence and hit him on top of the head with a blunt force object and shot him with paintball guns before handcuffing him and placing him in the back of one of their vehicles. The group then transported John Doe across state lines from Arizona to Shiprock, New Mexico. The group eventually released John Doe in Farmington, New Mexico on April 1, 2021.

An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Seraphine Warren-Begay, Orlando Begay, Nelton Alex Bekay, and Josephine Bekay each face up to life imprisonment and 5 years up to life of supervised release thereafter.

The Farmington Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with the assistance of the Navajo Nation Police Department and the Navajo Department of Criminal Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. McGinley is prosecuting the case.

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Updated October 25, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 23-252