Woman's terrifying kidnapping caught on camera
A video of a Philadelphia woman's abduction was released by authorities Monday, and the footage is absolutely terrifying. The chilling three-minute video clip captured the exact moment Carlesha Freeland-Gaither was snatched off the street in her Germantown neighborhood and forced into a waiting nearby car by an unidentified man. Though there's no audio in the video, you can clearly see the 22-year-old woman yelling for help as she struggled to break free from her attacker's embrace.
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Carlesha was reportedly on her way home from a visit with her godson when the attack occurred Sunday evening. The 22-year-old was supposed to call her live-in boyfriend so he could meet her at Chelton Avenue bus stop six blocks away from their home, only she never got to make the call. Surveillance footage shows Carlesha being accosted by her attacker at approximately 9:40p.m. She was just three blocks away from her bus stop. Initially, Carlesha, who stands at only 5'3 and weighs approximately 125 lbs., tried to avoid her attacker by crossing the street, but when she got to the next corner, he grabbed her and hauled her down the street to his car.
Described by family as a "fighter," Carlesha did all she could to save herself. She fought with all her might to break free from her abductor's clutches. Even after the unidentified man got her to his vehicle, Carlisha continued to fight, until the sinvergüenza punched her in the head and tossed her into his backseat. And STILL, Carlesha fought. In the video, you can see the car shake violently as the young woman struggles to break free, and eventually bust out a rear window in her kidnapper's four-door Ford Taurus. Despite her struggle, Carlesha's kidnapper was able to make off with her in tow. No one has seen or heard from her since.
Though Carlesha's family and boyfriend say the victim has no known enemies, they, along with local police, believe her abductor may have targeted her, given the precise timing of his assault. "You see him pull up. He's so calm," said Carlesha's mother, Keisha Gaither. "I see him dragging my daughter. I see him hitting my daughter. You can see the way it looks like he was setting her up, it looks like something that was planned."
Carlesha's story sends chills down my spine. It reminds me of when I was younger and my parents would take me aside to train me how to defend myself. They'd tell me to walk home with my keys tucked between my knuckles, just in case I'm attacked by some random guy on the street. They taught me how to hit a would-be attacker in the nose with the heel of my hand, thrusting upward as hard as I can. I was taught to change up my routine and never take the same route home two days in a row. Y pa' qué? To avoid being kidnapped. To avoid sinvergüenzas like the man who took Carlesha.
Last night, Philadelphia's Mayor Nutter announced a $10,000 award for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Carlesha's abductor. So far, he's been described as a 5-foot-10 black man between 25 and 30 years old, with a medium build. Seriously, keep your eyes peeled for this guy. He deserves to pay for what he's done to Carlesha. As for her, I hope that she's returned back to her family, safe and sound.
Watch Carlesha's harrowing struggle below
Image via Corbis