SYRACUSE -- When her ex-son-in-law told her not to run or he'd blow her brains out, a Brigham City grandmother said, "Go ahead." Then she turned and ran.
"I honestly expected any minute that I'd get a bullet in my back or in my head but I knew I had to go warn my daughter," the woman said Thursday. She preferred not to have her name made public.
She said she and her husband, who also did not want his name used, went to meet Joshua Latoice Cronin on Wednesday night in hopes of picking up their 2-year-old grandson. However, Cronin ended up holding the couple at gunpoint and demanding to see their daughter, his ex-wife, before eventually letting them go.
Cronin, 29, of Sandy, was arrested at 7:15 p.m. Thursday at the Rainbow Hotel in Wendover, Nev., said Syracuse Police Lt. Tracy Jensen.
"He was able to get to Wendover and get himself a room," Jensen said. "We knew he checked into a room around 4:30 p.m. and it took us a little while to get officers and everyone in place."
Cronin is being charged with two counts of a first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping, two counts of third-degree felony aggravated assault and one count of a class A misdemeanor violation of a protective order.
The situation started last week. Cronin is allowed to have his son for three hours every Wednesday night. However, when the grandparents went to pick up their grandson on Sept. 29 at Cronin's house in Sandy, he refused to let them take the boy.
When police arrived to help, the woman said Cronin would not answer the door and kept the child. The woman said her daughter got a Writ of Assistance signed by a judge on Wednesday, giving police the authority to get the child.
But that did not seem necessary when Cronin asked to meet the grandparents near Syracuse Family Fun Center at 1806 S. 2000 West, which is across the street from the police station. The grandparents expected to retrieve their grandson from him then.
Cronin told the Brigham City couple when they arrived he would give the child back to them only if they took him to his ex-wife. He got in their car and wanted them to drive back to Brigham City, where he believed his ex-wife was.
They said no, because the court had issued a protective order against Cronin, who is not to have any contact with his ex-wife, Jensen said.
The couple had dropped off their daughter at a nearby Smith's grocery store.
After driving around Syracuse, they came to a stop sign and Cronin pulled the gun.
"He said, 'You take me to her right this minute or I will blow both of your (expletive) brains out,' " the woman said.
Instead, she got out of the car and after Cronin also got out, he pointed the gun at her and cocked it, putting a bullet in the chamber. The woman then ran to the nearby home of another daughter and they called for help.
Cronin and the grandfather eventually ended up back where they originally met up. Cronin got out of the car and left the couple's cell phones on the front seat. The grandfather then drove to his daughter's house where his wife was and eventually the family met up at the police station.
"The police were so great," the woman said. "They were there in two minutes and did great to get everyone safe. Their first concern was to get (my grandson) back to safely."
Police called in a helicopter looking for Cronin, but "he eluded us," Jensen said.
The toddler, who was never with Cronin that night, was found after Salt Lake City police officers contacted Cronin's sister. The little boy has been returned to his mother, who has legal custody of the child.
Jensen said Cronin will be held in jail in Nevada over the weekend until he can be extradited to Utah, which could happen as early as Monday night.
Jensen said it took a united effort from the Syracuse police, U.S. Marshals Joint Criminal Apprehension Team, Nevada police and security at the Rainbow Hotel to track down Cronin, who had taken a rental car to Wendover.
Jensen also said it took a lot of courage for the woman to run away from Cronin.
"I really feel had they taken him to her daughter that the ending would have been different and it would have been probably pretty costly," Jensen said. "You never know in that situation but his intentions were to do something to his ex-wife."