Father Tells Diane Sawyer ‘No, I Wouldn’t Do It Again’
Jan. 8, 2007 — – A husband and wife who are accused of kidnapping their daughter the day before her wedding expressed regret for their actions in an exclusive interview with “Good Morning America” anchor Diane Sawyer.
Julianna Myers has testified that her parents, Lemuel and Julia Redd, kidnapped her on the eve of her wedding and drove her 240 miles away from her Provo, Utah, home to Grand Junction, Colo.
But her parents told GMA they did it because they thought their daughter was rushing into a marriage with a man she had only met a few weeks earlier, and they felt her fiance and his family were shutting them out of the wedding.
“No, I wouldn’t do it again,” Lemuel Redd told Sawyer when asked how he would handle the situation if he could go back in time.
He added that in hindsight it was, in fact, the “wrong thing” to do.
Julianna’s story has been reported extensively, but this is the first time the Redds have spoken publicly.
Julianna, who was 21 at the time of the alleged abduction, says she was driven towards Grand Junction, Colo. on Aug. 4, the day before her wedding.
They stopped at a gas station in Salina, Utah, where Julianna used the restroom.
When she was done, according to her testimony in a December hearing, she told her parents, “I’m not going back in the van.”
“They grabbed my wrists and put me back against the wall and were shouting all these doctrines at me,” Julianna testified. “They told me, ‘You’re not worthy, you’re wicked.'”
With Julianna in the van, the three drove toward Colorado, where they spent the night in a motel, and then drove back to Provo the next day.
Lemuel, 59, and his wife, Julia, 57, have been charged with kidnapping, a crime that could carry a 15-year jail term.
The Redds pleaded not guilty and have been ordered to stand trial. Their attorney, Rhome Zabriskie, is talking to prosecutors about a plea agreement.
“I say that avoiding a trial would probably be in everybody’s best interest,” Zabriskie told Sawyer.
Concerns About the Wedding
Julianna Redd was a high school cheerleader, National Honor Society scholar, Mormon and now a senior nursing student at Brigham Young University.
The groom, also a Mormon, was Brigham Young University senior Perry Myers from Texas.
Lemuel and Julia Redd, cattle farmers from the small town of Monticello, Utah, said they had serious concerns about their daughter’s decision to get married.
They say, right or wrong, they were worried that Julianna and Perry had only dated two months when they decided to marry.
They also say that his family, who seemed to have money, even took over all the wedding plans, from invitations to location.
But worst of all, they say, they felt Perry was controlling their once loving daughter, who simply shut her family out.
“Julianna had a personality change, a behavior change,” said Julia Redd. “And, and it was shortly after that that she quit talking to me at all.”
‘Desperate Attempt to Hold Onto Daughter’
Her father told Sawyer that at the time, they didn’t think that what they were doing could be considered kidnapping.
“The thought never entered our mind that we were kidnapping,” Lemuel said. “We were spending some time with our daughter and trying to discuss with her some things, some choices we thought needed rethinking; some time needed to be taken.”
Julia Redd said she just wanted to be part of her daughter’s life and the wedding.
“I wanted to share this, Julianna’s very important moment, with her,” Julia said tearfully. “If that is selfish, I am so sorry. But she didn’t even seem to care.”
Now the Redds say that waiting until the day before the wedding to share their concerns was the wrong thing to do.
“It was the wrong time,” Julia said. “I guess in one last desperate attempt to hold onto a daughter.”
Though the Redds acknowledge a tussle at the rest stop, they say Julianna could have left at any time.
The next day, on the scheduled wedding date, the Redds drove their daughter back to Provo after she promised not to contact her fiance.
Meanwhile, Perry Myers, who had called the police the night before when Julianna failed to attend a dinner, was waiting at her condo.
Later, his mother and aunt publicly accused the Redds of being controlling. His aunt said Julia Redd needed “mental help.”
“Well, we did act in a rash manner,” Lemuel told Sawyer. “But, again, it was out of desperation and love that it was done.”
Begging for Forgiveness
Julianna and Perry Myers were married Aug. 8, 2006, three days later than planned.
The Redds say that they hope they are wrong about their son-in-law and would even go to family counseling to repair their relationship with their daughter and her husband.
The Redds say they wrote their daughter an apology letter, but Julianna refused to answer.
Julianna seemed cheerful when she appeared on a morning talk show in October.
“I’m sad that this had to happen, but the prosecutors approached us€¦They wanted to press charges,” she told “The Today Show.”
And now the couple is expecting a baby, which was a surprise to Julianna’s parents.
“We want to be grandparents for this baby. We don’t want to be left out,” Lemuel said.
At the time, the Redds did not see anything wrong with the van ride they took with their 21-year-old daughter, but now they are seeing things differently and want forgiveness from their daughter and son-in-law.
“We wish you will forgive us, because we love you, and we would like you to come home so that we can get to know Perry better, so that we can have a happy family again,” Julia said.