Woman escapes alleged kidnapper by pulling into gas station

Crime

(File: Getty Images)

ORLEANS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman was able to escape from a kidnapper by saying she needed air for her tire at a gas station, deputies say.

Deputies say on Oct. 31 at 10:30 a.m., authorities started looking for the victim when her neighbor called 911 and reported she had texted “HELP.” She was not at her home but was believed to be driving in the 3000 block of S. State Road in Orange Township, authorities say.

According to deputies, the suspect, 52-year-old Kurt Gene Franklyn, had rented a van and allegedly went to the woman’s home, located on Ottawa Drive near Long Lake Road in Orleans Township. They say when the woman left to drop her kids off at school, he entered her home and turned off the main power breaker.

When she got home and went to investigate why there was no electricity, the suspect allegedly attacked her.

“Over the next couple hours, the victim was able to keep the suspect calm as she formulated an escape plan and was later able to convince him to go with her to retrieve property out of his personal vehicle, which was parked south of Ionia,” the sheriff’s office said.

While driving him to his car, she “wisely” pulled into a gas station, saying she needed to put air in the tire, the sheriff’s office explained.

Once she got out of the car, authorities say the woman ran into the gas station and screamed for help. She told them she had been kidnapped and raped, the sheriff’s office said. The gas station called 911 and deputies arrived and arrested Franklyn.

Deputies say Franklyn had binoculars, knives, restraints and pepper spray, and, at the crime scene, they found evidence of kidnapping and assault.

Franklyn has been charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree home invasion, unlawful imprisonment and domestic assault, the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office said in a Tuesday release.

Franklyn was arraigned on his charges on Tuesday, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies are continuing their investigation.

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