Family saves woman who jumped from moving car to escape kidnapping

Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 3:41 AM EDT
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VANCOUVER, Wash. (KPTV/Gray News) - A Washington state family helped a woman after she jumped from a moving vehicle in order to get away from a man who allegedly kidnapped her, the sheriff says. The suspect is now in custody.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation began just after 4:30 a.m. Saturday when a 911 caller reported a woman was banging on their door saying she had been kidnapped, according to KPTV.

Deputies arrived and spoke with the woman, who appeared to be in distress. She reported she was in her vehicle in Vancouver, Washington, when a man approached and asked for water. She gave him some water and allowed him to get into her vehicle. Once inside, the man reportedly showed a knife and threatened violence to take over control of the vehicle.

The suspect then drove to Camas. When the vehicle slowed down along a dirt road, the victim was able to jump out of the vehicle and began knocking on doors of homes in the area, according to the sheriff’s office.

Camas residents Caitlin Martin and her husband, Jamie Woods, became the woman’s unexpected saviors. They live in the house where the woman sought help after escaping from her alleged kidnapper.

“Police told us later on the next day that she was, in fact, kidnapped. Then, I was fairly happy that my husband was calm in the situation and made sure she was OK,” Martin said. “But it was a scary situation.”

Martin and Woods say they thought someone was trying to break into their house and hurt them and their children early Saturday.

Their 12-year-old daughter Addison was sleeping on a couch just feet from the door when the woman started banging on it.

“I was shocked because I heard banging on the door and the dogs barking and scared because I thought someone was trying to break in,” Addison said. “I saw my dad walk out and talk with her.”

Woods said he was wary at first of the woman’s story and concerned for his family’s safety, but he quickly realized she was scared and needed help. He recounted the eerie moments when he said the alleged kidnapper drove by his house after the woman escaped.

“A white SUV Kia stopped at the stop sign for a couple of seconds and then took off,” Woods said. “She grappled onto me for comfort, saying ‘Oh my god, there he is. He’s going to kill me.’”

Deputies would soon arrive and take care of the woman.

Woods and Martin said they’re shaken but grateful they did the right thing.

“I’m just glad that nobody was hurt, nobody was killed,” Woods said. “And at the end of the day, everyone was safe for the most part.”

Deputies located the victim’s vehicle after a search. The suspect initially stopped but then eluded deputies. The sheriff’s office said a pursuit began about 5:14 a.m. and ended about 11 minutes later when deputies, along with Vancouver Police officers, were able to pin the vehicle when it came to a stop.

The suspect was arrested after several attempts to free the vehicle failed. According to the sheriff’s office, the suspect refused to identify himself, and deputies are working on getting his name.

The suspect was booked into the Clark County Jail on charges of first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery, attempt to elude and reckless driving.