Missouri town shaken by abduction

Morning In America

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. (NewsNation) — Authorities continued investigating a suspected kidnapping and sexual assault this weekend in a small Missouri town just northeast of Kansas City that was discovered when a malnourished woman escaped and screamed for help.

Lisa Johnson and her neighbor, Tim Grover, both live nearby in Excelsior Springs. Johnson said she called 911 for that woman on Friday. Johnson said when the woman approached her, she was wearing a homemade neck restraint, part of which was crudely fashioned using duct tape.

“As soon as I picked up the phone to dial 911, she got a little disturbed. She said — if you call, he’s going to kill us both,” Johnson said Monday.

Grover said he believes the woman may have hidden for safety near his home. He and Johnson agreed it was concerning to know something like this allegedly happened near their homes.

“If I had seen her, I would have scooped her up and hit the panic button on my alarm system and gotten her help,” Grover said.

Clay County authorities charged a man with rape, kidnapping and assault after the woman ran from his house Friday. Local TV news reports identified the man charged as Timothy Haslett Jr. The victim was hospitalized in stable condition Friday, and reunited with her family afterward.

“When we made contact with her, it was readily apparent that she had been held against her will for a significant period of time,” Excelsior Springs police Lt. Ryan Dowdy said.

The woman told police there may have been two other victims, but authorities haven’t said whether any additional victims have been found. Investigators have continued to search the home the woman escaped from, and Excelsior Springs Police Chief Greg Dull asked the public Saturday to be patient while officers sort through evidence.

Dull said additional charges could be filed depending on the evidence investigators uncover.

Police report the woman is in the hospital and expected to be OK.

Excelsior Springs is about 30 miles northeast of Kansas City.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WDAF contributed to this report.

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