Posts tagged ‘Stranger Abduction’

A Kidnapping Survivor’s Story

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Photo of Sarah Maynard

Interview occurred in February 2011. Less than 4 months after the abduction of Sarah Maynard and the murders of her mother, brother and family friend. — Source: Today

Lying there on a makeshift bed of leaves in a murderer’s basement, Sarah Maynard, then 13, had seen and endured an unimaginable horror. A stranger had burst into her home in November 2010 and stabbed to death Sarah’s mother, her 11-year-old brother and a family friend, then kidnapped Maynard and kept her for four days as his prisoner and the victim of his sexual assaults. And yet, through it all, the courageous young girl never gave up hope that she would be rescued.

In an exclusive interview Maynard told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira that she’s speaking out now because she “wanted to let people know how I could survive what he did to me.” Despite everything, she still is “making my life go on, and not thinking about the past.”

Sarah Maynard’s father, Larry, appeared in the studio along with his daughter. “It’s still a nightmare every day,” he told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira.

Maynard’s father, Larry, also appeared in the studio with his daughter. “It’s still a nightmare every day knowing that part of our family is not with us,” he said.

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Photo of Larry Maynard and his daughter Sarah on the Today’s Show which aired in Feb 2011.

The horrific chain of events that led to the murders and Maynard’s kidnapping began on the night of November 9, 2010 when 30-year-old Matthew Hoffman, a tree trimmer by trade who had recently lost his job, began staking out the house where Sarah, her young brother Kody, and her mother Tina Hermann lived. He spent the night in a sleeping bag across the street from the family home. And though Hoffman would later claim that he intended only to rob the house, he carried with him a knife that he had recently purchased online.

Larry Maynard told Vieira that he does not believe this was just a burglary gone bad. “A thief steals, and a murderer kills,” he said. “If he was there to burglarize the home, why did he stake it out the way he did, why did he purchase a knife online a week prior?”

Gruesome home invasion
It was a little after dawn on the morning of Nov. 10, 2010 when he burst into the Maynard family home. He stayed for about an hour, basking in what he later told authorities was the “excitement” of breaking into someone’s home, when Hermann returned home. He attacked her, knocking her unconscious, he told authorities. After family friend Stephanie Sprang, a 41-year-old mother of three, entered the house, he stabbed both women to death. Hoffman then turned on the family dog, killing it as well. He was loading the bodies into the back of a car when Sarah and Kody came home. “I stabbed the boy in the chest a couple of times,” the killer later told authorities. “I ran into the bedroom after the girl to make sure she was not on the phone for help … I saw the girl was not on the phone, and I could not bring myself to kill her.”

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Far left; Sarah Maynard (Survivor) – Center Left; Sarah’s brother, Kody Maynard (Victim) – Center Right; Mother, Tina Herrmann (Victim) Far Right; Stephanie Sprang (Victim)

He had something else in mind for her. He dragged her to his home — a bizarre lair filled with hundreds of bags of leaves, marked with weird, childish scrawling on the door, dead squirrels stashed away in his freezer — and kept her captive in his basement.

makeshift-grave

Sarah was forced to sleep in a makeshift bed of leaves (pictured) in Hoffman’s filthy basement. “He said he wanted to make my bed comfortable so he just put leaves there,” Maynard recalled.

Hoffman tied her up on a bed of leaves and sexually assaulted her, repeatedly. He never let her up, even to shower, Maynard told Vieira. “I just listened to everything he told me to do … just hoping that someone would find me so I wouldn’t have to live with him again.”
It took four days before authorities got a break. A witness told them about a strange man who had purchased a tarp at a local hardware store, and authorities traced him to his basement in Mount Vernon, Ohio, where they found Maynard bound and gagged.

Coping with grief
It was only after she was rescued that the full scope of the horror the family had suffered became clear. At first, Hoffman refused to talk, but when prosecutors promised that he would not face the death penalty, he admitting to killing the two women and the boy, and then he led the investigators to a hollow tree in a remote area where he had stuffed their dismembered bodies.

Even then, Hoffman tried to excuse his savagery, telling authorities that he had made hamburgers for the sole surviving victim of his bloodlust. “I think he was just trying to say that … to make people think that he felt good about himself,” Sarah Maynard said, “to say that he fed me, and he didn’t.”

Hoffman has been sentenced to life without parole.

In the months since, Maynard has been seeing a grief counselor, and with her father, she has established a nonprofit organization, Healing Hearts, to help other victims of violent crimes. She chokes up when she speaks of her mother and brother. “She took really good care of us, made sure we had food, heat and clothes,” she said, her voice trembling slightly. “And Kody, he was just a really good brother, even though we fought a lot.”

But despite her ordeal, she still found the strength to pen a letter that was read aloud at Hoffman’s sentencing. “I wanted to tell him that I was not scared of him. I just wanted to live my life,” she told Vieira.

And that courage and devotion to life is what makes Sarah a heroine, her father said. “She’s even an inspiration to me,” he said. “As her father I’m supposed to be the teacher … I think she’s taught me far more than I could probably ever teach her about life.”

For more information about the Healing Hearts Memorial fund, which aims to provide grants and assistance to survivors and victims of violent crimes, click here.

DAILYMAIL UPDATE; Gunman dead and boy hostage ALIVE after FBI agents storm bunker after ‘fearing for imminent safety of Ethan’

02/04/13, ALABAMA –

  • Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, allegedly stormed a school bus when it stopped to let off students and said he had to take two children hostage
  • Dykes is reportedly dead, but it is not known whether he was killed by police or committed suicide
  • Dykes held the six-year-old, known only as Ethan, in his homemade bunker for almost one week

Link to full article below..

Mugshot: Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, the suspect in the standoff, is believed to be deadJimmy Lee Dykes, 65, the suspect in the standoff, is believed to be dead

Saved: The boy, known only as Ethan, is believed to be ok after he was rescued from the bunker by FBI agents

The boy, known only as Ethan, is believed to be ok after he was rescued from the bunker by FBI agents

Hero: Murdered bus driver Charles Poland Jr, 66, was hailed as a hero for trying to stop the abduction of the children from his school bus. His wife said he loved all of the students he drove

Murdered bus driver Charles Poland Jr, 66, was hailed as a hero for trying to stop the abduction of the children from his school bus. His wife said he loved all of the students he drove

Long wait: Police say Jimmy Lee Dykes likely had supplies in his shelter to last weeks or months. He had previously spent eight days in the bunkerPolice say Jimmy Lee Dykes likely had supplies in his shelter to last weeks or months. He had previously spent eight days in the bunker

Click here for full updated article published by Dailymail

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01/30/13, ALABAMA — SWAT team in 24-hour siege as crazed gunman holds boy, 6, hostage in bunker after abducting him from school bus and shooting dead driver

  • Alabama State Police along with the FBI and bomb squads are involved in the stand-off of a gunman who murdered an Alabama school bus driver before kidnapping a child
  • Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, allegedly stormed a school bus when it stopped to let off students and said he had to take two children hostage
  • When driver Charles Poland Jr, 66, tried to stop Dykes, the gunman allegedly opened fire and killed him
  • Dykes took a an autistic boy, 6, with him and retreated to a makeshift bunker he dug in the ground
  • Boy is watching TV and has received medications through a PVC pipe that sticks out of the ground and runs into the fortified hovel
  • The standoff is taking place outside Midland City, Alabama, which is a rural town in the deep southeast of the state, near the Florida border

Link to full article by MailOnline below

Out in force: Dozens of local police officers, Alabama State Police troopers and federal agents from the ATF and FBI swarmed the area where the boy was being held captiveOut in force: Dozens of local police officers, Alabama State Police troopers and federal agents from the ATF and FBI swarmed the area where the boy was being held captive
Gearing up: A bomb squad unit is also on hand to deal with any possible explosive devices in the roadGearing up: A bomb squad unit is also on hand to deal with any possible explosive devices in the bunker
Panic: A suspect, identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, allegedly held up a school bus Tuesday in Midland City, Alabama, shooting dead the bus driver and taking a boy hostagePanic: A suspect, identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, allegedly held up a school bus Tuesday in Midland City, Alabama, shooting dead the bus driver and taking a boy hostage
Witness: This student said the gunman ranted about needing a 'child' to 'get the law off his back' - likely a reference to his court appearance that was scheduled for todayWitness: This student said the gunman ranted about needing a ‘child’ to ‘get the law off his back’ – likely a reference to his court appearance that was scheduled for today
Safe: Parents hugged their children tightly after the ordeal on the bus. Witnesses say the gunman was looking for a hostage because of his legal troubleSafe: Parents hugged their children tightly after the ordeal on the bus. Witnesses say the gunman was looking for a hostage because of his legal troubleClick here for full article published by Dailymail

Kidnapped Teen tells of her horrific ordeal after she was snatched at the mall by stranger and held at gunpoint for two days before escaping

PUBLISHED: 11:05 EST, 27 January 2013 | UPDATED: 13:29 EST, 27 January 2013 by MailOnline – Dailymail.co.uk

A teenage girl missing for two days alerted authorities to come and rescued her after sneaking a Facebook message to her mom, before escaping in the night when her alleged kidnapper fell asleep.

The 16-year-old Johnstown,Colorado, resident said that she had been walking through a local supermarket’s parking lot on Tuesday when 38-year-old David Calderon asked her for a lighter, before bundling her into his car.

Holding her at gunpoint, Calderon allegedly made her accompany him on drug runs around town and is facing charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment, unlawful sexual contact, felony menacing, child abuse and assault.

Scroll Down for video link

The unidentified teenager spoke to ABC News 7 in Denver, Colorado, about her terrifying experience
The unidentified teenager spoke to ABC News 7 in Denver, Colorado, about her terrifying experience

‘I’m a little paranoid that when he gets out of jail he’ll try to find me or something,’ she told 7NEWS with the permission of her mother and a victim’s assistance advocate.

‘He was really really creepy, saying he wanted to be with me forever and make me his queen.’

‘He said if I did leave he would find me and shoot me.’

The unnamed girl, of Johnstown, Colorado, was last heard from at around 10:50 p.m. on Tuesday.

David Calderon, 38, is now facing multiple charges, including kidnapping and child abuse charges after allegedly bundling a 16-year-old teen into his car and holding her against her will for two days
David Calderon, 38, is now facing multiple charges, including kidnapping and child abuse charges after allegedly bundling a 16-year-old teen into his car and holding her against her will for two days

Witnesses told investigators that the teen sent messages from her cellphone and Facebook account at that time, saying she was ‘with a guy named Dave’ and ‘scared.’

Click here for full article and video by Dailymail

The Girl in The Box

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Photo of Colleen Stan also known as “The Girl in The Box”

Colleen Stan was a 20-year-old female who was abducted and forced as a sex-slave by a couple on May 19, 1977 while hitchhiking from her hometown of Eugene, Oregon to Red Bluff, California to visit a good friend who lived in Westwood. She had wanted to surprise her friend for her birthday, which was coming up soon and she was willing to travel the 400 miles to do so.

Of course Colleen knew that walking the 400 miles would be crazy. She figured she’d hitchhike down Interstate 5, which was very popular to do in the 70’s despite the obvious dangers.

She made good time, catching rides that took her pretty far along her way. By the afternoon, she had gotten 350 miles towards her destination to the town of Red Bluff and with less than 60 miles to go, she was actually going to be earlier then she initially anticipated.

She evaluated each person who stopped to offer rides to make sure they “appeared safe”, and had even turned down two potential rides when she did not feel right about them, so when a blue Dodge Colt stopped on the road with a man, woman and baby inside, Colleen was relieved and did not hesitate to get in the vehicle.

The couple introduced themselves as Cameron and Janice Hooker. They were young, clean-cut and friendly and Colleen remembered hoping into the backseat overjoyed.

“I was thanking my lucky stars,” she would later say in an interview.

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Cameron Hooker (left) and Janice Hooker (right)

The Hookers were making friendly conversation, asking where she was heading, and Colleen was very comfortable until she noticed Cameron looking at her through the rare-view mirror, which gave her a bad gut feeling. But, despite her instincts and an opportunity to run while at a gas station restroom, she stayed and rationalized that man wouldn’t do anything to her in front of his wife and child and got back into the vehicle and they drove off.

They drove for another mile or so until Cameron appeared to make up his mind about something.

The Hookers mentioned that they were very close to some spectacular ice caves and they wanted to make a quick stop. A passive Colleen would have rather forgo the trip to see ice caves and gone straight to her friend’s home but she didn’t object and figured a quick stop wouldn’t hurt. She was already making good time, right?

Cameron drove down a dirt road that seemed to take them to the middle of nowhere and then stopped the car, turning the key to shut off the engine. His wife got out of the car holding the baby. Suddenly Colleen found a knife pointed against her throat. Cameron ordered her to put her hands above her head and asked her if she was going to do whatever he said. She froze in fear. She didn’t know what else to say except, “Yes.” He then handcuffed, blindfolded, bound, and gagged her.

He placed a large, metal-hinged box made out of plywood over Colleen’s head. It was heavy and had dense insulation in between its double walls, and a neck hole that near choked her.  The interior was carpeted, which impeded her ability to breathe. Wearing this, she could not eat, drink, hear, or see.

Cameron then covered her with something heavy which to Colleen, felt like her sleeping bag she brought with her.

She heard the car start back up again and sobbed to herself, wondering what was going to happen. After feeling the car stop for a few minutes, it started back up only to stop again a short time later.

The Hooker’s had taken their new victim to their home.

Google map showing the house that the Hooker’s lived and kept Colleen as a sex slave

Inside a house, Cameron removed the box that he’d placed over her head.  He then led Colleen down some steps into a dark cellar. He indicated that she was to stand on a Coleman ice chest and then told her to lift her hands over her head. Then he used a leather strap to tie her wrists to pipes. As he removed each item of her clothing, she felt him trembling.  She was still blindfolded, but she could sense that he was building up to something.  Uncomfortable as all of this was, it was nothing compared to what came next.

He removed the chest that was supporting her weight, and she hung there, suspended in the air.  Colleen kicked and screamed to be let down.  He then told her, in a sarcastic tone, to “go ahead and scream,” And told her that if she continued screaming that he will cut her vocal chords, like he did with past victims, leading her to believe she wasn’t the first. He then left her hanging in the downstairs cellar by herself.

 He started to hit her with something that hurt, both front and back. Colleen shrieked out for help, but that only made him hit her more.  She realized he was using a whip.  He then left her hanging, with her tiptoes just barely brushing something.  She could see beneath the blindfold that a pornographic magazine lay on the floor, featuring a naked woman hung up just as she was.

Shortly after being tortured, His wife came downstairs and the both of them had sex right in front of Colleen, as some sort of ‘celebration’ for their new ‘sex-slave.’

After that, he made her sit inside another locking box, and when he closed it, she discovered that she could not move.  Then he placed the head box back on her head.  She was now completely immobilized and barely able to breathe.  She began to scream, drawing her captor back.  He placed a strap over her chest that constricted her breathing even more, forcing her to stop making noise.  Then he left her like that for a very long and frightening night. She thought she was going to die. Her simple wish that morning to surprise her friend and wish her happy birthday, had turned into the worst experience of her life, and it had only just begun.

She would spend the next seven years, until she was 27, kept against her will. Raped, tortured, abused, starved and kept in a box, humiliated and degraded to the point that she was considered brainwashed, and was too fearful to ask for help. She was made to wear the head-gear and gag daily and slept in “the box”, which kept her from seeing, hearing, eating, and reduced her capacity to breath.

The box, shown re-constructed as evidence during the trail of the Hookers

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A sketch of what Colleen would have appeared like in the box

She was referred to as ”K” and had been so malnourished, her hair started falling out and she started losing a large amount of weight.

Click CRIME LIBRARY for the full story and read more on Colleen Stan and how she managed to finally escape her abductors and alert authorities.

Photo of Colleen Stan which was taken at Cameron Hookers trail

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Birthday photo of Colleen Stan

Photo of Colleen Stan, taken decades after her kidnapping ordeal. Colleen had her own words of wisdom for another kidnapped survivor, Jaycee Lee Dugard, the child kidnapped at age 11 and who was discovered 18 years later as a mother of two, still being held captive by her abductors, Phillip and Nancy Garrido. – CBS Exclusive: Woman Imprisoned in Coffin for 7 Years Has Special Message for Jaycee Dugard

Abducted man found bound and gagged in trunk during routine traffic stop – CAUGHT ON TAPE

LOUISVILLE, KY — Newly released dash cam video from a Louisville Metro police cruiser shows the discovery of a convenience store clerk who was bound and locked in the trunk of his own car.

WLKY obtained the video and an interview the victim gave police immediately after his rescue.

Shawn Bloemer was leaving work at a Circle K in Jeffersontown on Aug. 4 when he was accosted by two men and a woman.

Attack: Shawn Bloemer was allegedly kidnapped, gagged and bound and shoved into his car trunk

Photo of Shawn Bloemer, 22, kidnapped for four terrifying hours before his expired license plates saved him

The 22-year-old was beaten, tied up, a towel was wrapped around his head and then he was thrown in the trunk.

“Before they closed the trunk, they said, ‘This isn’t personal. We need your car,’” Bloemer said.

Dashcam video: Kidnapped clerk found in trunk

Bloemer told police he was driven around for three hours with his kidnappers making several stops, including one to buy drugs in the downtown area.

As the suspects headed back toward the store and contemplated what to do with Bloemer, a Metro officer pulled over the car and almost immediately became suspicious.

“There was a small gap in the tail light of my car where I could see the red and blue flashing lights,” Bloemer said. “He came back and started asking about insurance; that’s when I began pounding and kicking the hood yelling.”

Saved: Police pulled over the vehicle for a routine traffic stop and heard thumping coming from the trunk

Not knowing what to expect or who might be inside the trunk, officers pointed their weapons at the back of the vehicle as the trunk was popped.

Discovery: The dashboard cam footage shows police finding Bloemer tied up in the trunk

Still-shots from the police cruiser showing Bloemer being rescued

Video also show’s the abductors getting arrested.

Watch raw dash cam video  | View images from dash cam

Click WLKY for part 2 of this article published 11/30/12

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s First Missing Child Report

School photo of Cherrie Ann Mahan taken less than a year before her disappearance

Age-progression photo of what Cherrie Mahan might look like at 33 years of age. She would be 36 years old today.

Case Type: Non Family Abduction DOB: 08/14/76 Sex: Female Missing Date: 02/22/85 Race: Caucasian Age Now: 36  Height: 4’2″ (127 cm) Weight: 68 lbs Hair Color: Brunette Eye Color: Hazel City: Pittsburgh (31 kg) Missing State: PA Missing Country: United States Case Number: NCMC601805

Cherrie Mahan, born August 14, 1976, was an eight-year-old child from Butler County, Pennsylvania when she was abducted on Friday, February 22, 1985 around 4o’clock pm, just moments after stepping off the school bus, which was approximately 100 yards from her home along a road in rural Winfield Township. But the third-grader did not make it to the hilltop trailer she lived in with her parents.

The bus-stop was so close, the little girl’s parents could hear it pulling up.

“It’s like a black hole opened up and she fell in,” said Janice McKinney, Cherrie’s mother. She recalled that she and Cherrie’s stepfather, Leroy, could hear the bus pulling up that day, but Cherrie never arrived so he went to the stop to look for her. ”He came flying back up because she wasn’t there,” said Janice. The police were immediately contacted and they did a search in the area and asked local’s if anyone had seen the missing child. Witnesses reported to police that they had seen a suspicious looking van. A bright blue-green 1976 Dodge van with a mural of a mountain and skier painted on the side. Most of the leads given to police have been sightings of Mahan or the van, but  the van nor the missing child had ever surfaced. 

Van 2  SKETCH – front view and back view of the van spotted in the area at the time of the abduction

Van 1

Police were never able to find the vehicle which is strange considering the bright colors and mural design.

Cherrie’s case was very wide-spread, The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children opened in 1984 and Cherrie was featured as its first child listed on their mass-mailed “Have You Seen Me?” cards. Her case was on CNN in January 2011 and many people threw-out the Country still hear about the young girl’s mysterious disappearance.

Cherrie was a third grader and an only child, who just turned 36th birthday this past Summer, but in the minds of many, she will always remain a missing girl.

“People still talk about it,” said Trooper Frank Jendesky, the lead detective working on the case for the Pennsylvania State Police for the past 15 years.

 In January 2011, Pennsylvania police received a very promising tip/lead, but will not release details as they fear it will endanger the investigation.

Cherrie Mahan had her ears pierced at the time she went missing and was last seen wearing a gray coat, blue denim skirt, blue leg warmers and beige boots.

Anyone with information regarding this cold case is asked to please contact: Pennsylvania State Police Missing Persons Unit – 1-412-284-8100

Or leave a tip by contacting: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children – 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST)

A Survivor’s Story – The Smart Family

Ed Smart
Elizabeth Smart

Pictured above, Ed Smart and photo of Elizabeth Smart at the age of fourteen, she turned 25 on November 3, 1987

Police photo of Brian Mitchell Davis. 59, will spend the rest of his life in a United States Penitentiary, a high security federal prison in Tuscon, Arizona.

Police photo of Wanda Eileen Barzee, the wife of Brian David Mitchell and his accomplice. She was sentenced to fifteen years in prison and five years probation upon release, she will be approx 72 years old at that point. Barzee will also have to register as a sex offender.

 

 
Before dawn on June 5, 2002, Elizabeth Smart, then 14, was kidnapped from her bedroom. Her captors, Mitchell and Barzee, forced her to wear a burqa to hide her identity but nine months after her June abduction, an alert citizen identified Elizabeth threw her eyes, the only part of her body that wasn’t covered. She was found alive on March 12, 2003, nine months after her abduction just a few miles from her home, Her abduction and recovery were widely reported in North American media and internationally.
 
Elizabeth’s ordeal and recovery were widely reported and the subject of a Lifetime made-for-TV movie and non-fiction book. Ten years later, she is still an inspiration to many victims of abduction. She had gone to Congress to support sexual predator legislation and the AMBER Alert system, and on July 26, 2006, she spoke after the signing of the Adam Walsh Act. In May 2008, she traveled to Washington D.C. where she helped present a book, “You’re Not Alone,” published by the U.S. Department of Justice, which has entries written by her as well as four other recovered young adults. In 2009, Smart commented on the kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugardstressing that dwelling upon the past is unproductive. On October 27, 2009 Elizabeth spoke at the 2009 Women’s Conference in California hosted by Maria Shriver, on overcoming obstacles in life. 

On July 7, 2011 it was announced that she would be a commentator for ABC News, mainly focusing on missing persons.

Ed Smart has become a nationally renowned spokesperson for child protection, advocating for legislation and non-profit organizations that focus on the prevention and recovery of missing children. Ed works with and serves on the board of several non-profit agencies including, the National Child ID program, sponsored by the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association), radKids; and the I Keep Safe program from the Governors’ Spouses Coalition for Internet Safety. Ed is also a member of the State of Utah’s Amber Alert committee and a frequent guest speaker for Law Enforcement and other agencies involved in protecting children from predators. 

Click WIKI: Elizabeth Smart for additional information on this case.
Check out: The Elizabeth Smart Foundation
National Child Identification Program
IKeepSafe Internet Safety Coalition