Man faces up to life in prison for alleged Yellowstone kidnapping
WEST YELLOWSTONE, Montana —- A Wyoming man faces up to life in federal prison after a kidnapping incident at Yellowstone National Park Friday.
Gregory Michael Samuel Toth is charged with federal felony assault with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, and misdemeanor charges of misappropriation of property, possession of marijuana, DUI and having an open container (of alcohol) in a vehicle. Charging documents obtained by EastIdahoNews.com show the investigation into Toth began Friday morning just after 6 a.m. when a man called Yellowstone authorities saying he had been assaulted at the Fish Bridge RV Park at the north end of Yellowstone Lake.
The victim told dispatchers he was with a coworker and feared his attacker was following them and would confront them before park rangers could arrive. Dispatchers told the victim to drive to West Thumb Junction along Grand Loop Road, to meet with law enforcement.
Authorities spoke with the victim who said he had known Toth for several decades and the man had just gotten out of jail for kidnapping and assaulting an ex-girlfriend. The victim reported he helped Toth get a job when he was released from jail and the two began staying in a trailer at the RV Park.
While the victim described Toth as talkative, he said the man became quiet on Thursday and was watching him “unusually close.” Concerned about the behavior, the victim said he called Toth’s ex.
Thursday night, the victim and another coworker drove to a grocery store in Cody Wyoming, when Toth allegedly called, accusing the victim of having a sexual relationship with the ex-girlfriend. Toth is accused of saying he would find them and “deal with (them) properly,” according to court documents. Toth’s truck was reportedly seen following the victim on the way back to Yellowstone.
When the victim got back to the trailer he went to sleep. Toth allegedly barged inside around 5 a.m. Friday and threw the victim to the ground. As the victim was held to the ground he said Toth tried to choke him to the point he almost blacked out.
“While choking him Toth ‘took out his knife and put it to (the victim’s) throat telling (him) he was going to kill (him) for what (he had) done,” charging documents read.
The attack continued for several minutes before Toth allegedly forced the victim to sit in his room. Toth is accused of making further death threats to the victim, saying he would give him the chance to fight before shooting him in the head.
As Toth began making paranoid statements, the victim said he made his escape. The victim described how he ran until he found a coworker and called 911.
Park Rangers found Toth in his pickup truck driving around the RV park just before 8 a.m. According to court documents, Toth claimed to have just had an argument with the victim over the ex-girlfriend and did not hold a knife to the man’s throat. Toth did make statements that he was probably guilty of battery, according to Park Rangers.
Officials report Toth agreed to give a blood draw and said he had “used dope.” Park Rangers also note in court documents Toth smelled of alcohol and appeared intoxicated.
Inside the pickup truck, Park Rangers said they found a knife, an open bottle of vodka and a metal baton. Inside Toth’s pockets were three marijuana joints, according to charging documents.
Toth was arrested and court records show the U.S. Marshals took him into custody.
Federal felony assault holds a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted. Felony kidnapping carries up to a life sentence. In total, Toth faces a maximum of $520,000 in fines if convicted.
Although Toth is accused of crimes, it does not necessarily mean he committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
A detention hearing for Toth is scheduled for Thursday.