Missing Since: May 25, 2003 from Salt Lake City, Utah
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: October 29, 2001
Age: 1 year old
Height and Weight: 2'6, 30 - 35 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Bishop has a birthmark on the side of her abdomen, about the size of a tennis ball. Her ears are pierced.
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A pink sundress printed around the bottom with white daisies or sunflowers.
Details of Disappearance
Bishop was abducted by her grandmother, 38-year-old Kelley Jean Lodmell, from her great-grandparents' Salt Lake City home at 6:00 p.m. on May 25, 2003. A photograph of Lodmell is posted below this case summary. She is bipolar and a paranoid schizophrenic. She had previously taken Bishop without permission and hid her in a basement; she was on supervised visitation with the baby when she abducted her in May 2003. They escaped when the supervisor, Bishop's great-grandmother, left the room for a moment. Bishop and Lodmell were last seen together in Idaho Falls, Idaho on May 26, close to the Broadway overpass and green belt, next to the Snake River.
That same day, Lodmell went to a hydroelectric plant near the overpass and told employees there that she had dropped Bishop into the river while they were dangling their feet off the bridge. The plant was immediately shut down so Bishop would get sucked into its turbines. Divers searched the murky river for several days, but Bishop was not found there. However, a pair of baby shoes and a doll were found on the riverbank. One of Lodmell's shoes was also found on the bank; the other one was in the water. A box of trinkets was found as well, it was unrelated to Bishop's case.
Authorities believe Bishop drowned in the Snake River; they have classified the case as a homicide. They do not feel that Bishop accidentally fell into the river. Lodmell was soaking wet when she ran to the power plant for help, and the police believe she intentionally jumped in the water with Bishop in her arms in a murder/suicide attempt. She admitted this to authorities and was charged with kidnapping and murdering Bishop. She stated that she believed the baby made it out of the water and is still alive somewhere.
Lodmell has a criminal record; she has been charged with many petty offenses including drunk driving, threats with a dangerous weapon, and disorderly conduct. Her most serious offense was aggravated assault; she served sixty days in jail for shooting a child with a pellet gun. She has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and has a history of substance abuse as well. She has occasionally had to live on the streets or in her car, and she took her medication only when she could afford to pay for it. She was not taking it at the time she abducted Bishop.
Bishop's parents hope that Lodmell is lying about her granddaughter's presumed death in an effort to conceal her from the rest of the family, and that she possibly passed Bishop over to one of her friends and would find her after she was released from prison. She has reportedly been always possessive of the child. Bishop's parents say Lodmell has never had suicidal tendencies before, and had never indicated that she might harm Bishop. They characterize Lodmell as a habitual liar and say her confession of murder was a fabrication, and that she had been planning Bishop's abduction for months.
Bishop's parents claim Lodmell sent them a letter from jail where she stated Bishop was alive and being cared for by others. She never referred to Bishop in the past tense in her letters. They also point out that Lodmell purchased diapers and milk for Bishop shortly before the baby allegedly drowned, which would not make any sense if she had been planning to murder her. Police investigated the possibility that Lodmell gave or sold Bishop to other individuals, but they could find no evidence to support this theory. Nonetheless, her parents are convinced she is still alive.
Bishop's mother and father are offering a reward for their daughter's safe return. They have issued a sketch of a man they think may be helping to hide Bishop. The sketch was not made by a professional sketch artist and is not endorsed by the police. It is posted below. The man was allegedly seen checking Lodmell and Bishop out of the Red Lion Hotel on May 26. He is in his late forties or early fifties with rough, weathered tan skin, graying sunbleached hair, hazel eyes, large hands with carrot-shaped fingers, and a small build. He was about 5'6 tall and smoked Basics cigarettes. Police detectives do not think the man, if he exists, was involved in Bishop's disappearance and presumed death.
Lodmell was tried for kidnapping in federal court. In January 2005, a judge acquitted her, ruling that she was insane at the time of her crime. The judge decided Lodmell was delusional when she abducted Bishop and believed the baby was in an abusive situation and she had a duty to save her. Lodmell was determined to be a danger to the community, based on her mental illness, past criminal behavior, and history of violence and substance abuse. She was committed to a mental hospital for an indefinite period. Lodmell may be released from the hospital at a later date if psychiatrists determine she is no longer dangerous, but her prognosis is poor as she has repeatedly refused to follow through with treatment programs for her schizophrenia and does not even believe she is mentally ill. It is unlikely that she will ever be released from federal custody; therefore, Idaho prosecutors dropped the murder and kidnapping charges against her. If Lodmell ever is released from the hospital, she may face the state charges again.
At the time of her disappearance, Bishop she was able to walk, run, and say one-syllable words. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office