The police said their investigation began about 5:25 p.m. on Feb. 10, when officers responded to call about an injured man in an area near train tracks, houses and a city water tower in Coolidge, a city of about 13,000 people about 55 miles outside Phoenix. The caller reported that the man was going in and out of consciousness.
When the officers arrived, they found a man, later identified as Mr. Soules, with his hands bound behind his back by a belt and a purple bandanna “stuffed in his mouth,” according to the police. A photo from the Police Department showed the man with his hands tied while lying on his side on the ground.
Mr. Soules told officers that after completing an errand that morning, he returned to his home, where two masked men abducted him near his vehicle, struck him in the back of his head and knocked him unconscious, according to the arrest report.
The men, according to Mr. Soules, “drove him around in a vehicle before they left him in the area where he was found,” the police said. Mr. Soules was taken to a hospital, where he was evaluated and interviewed by the police. According to the department, he told investigators that he had been kidnapped because his father had a large amount of money hidden throughout the desert.
For days, detectives tried to investigate his account including by reviewing surveillance video of the area and interviewing people he mentioned. Hospital records showed that Mr. Soules had no concussion or injury to his head, a police report said, and text messages reviewed by the detectives did not show messages or phone calls that had been described.