Dramatic Video Shows Kidnapped Woman Escaping Trunk of Captor’s Car at Gas Station

Quick thinking and a bold move may have saved her life.

byKyle Cheromcha|
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It's like a scene out of a movie. A car pulls into a gas station in the middle of the night and stops at a pump. The driver gets out and heads inside to take a leak. Everything seems normal—right until the moment the trunk pops open, and out jumps a kidnapped woman running for her life.

Surveillance video shared by the Chilton County Sheriff's Office on Facebook captured the dramatic scene early Monday morning in Clanton, Alabama. According to officials, 36-year-old Timothy Wyatt broke into the victim's home while she was sleeping and choked her before tying her up and demanding money. When she didn't have any, authorities say Wyatt forced her into a blue mid-2000s Ford Taurus and drove away, later moving her from the passenger cabin to the trunk.

Eventually, he pulled into the gas station, which is where the video picks up the scene. The victim evidently managed to loosen her restraints at some point, waiting less than 30 seconds after Wyatt exited to vehicle before grabbing the the interior trunk release and making her escape. She runs into the convenience store to get help, and an interior camera shows she nearly crosses paths with her kidnapper as he realizes what's happening and sprints towards the exit. The video ends with Wyatt slamming the trunk closed and driving off into the night.

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Chilton County Sheriff's deputies arrested Wyatt later that day and charged him with robbery, kidnapping, and domestic violence, according to Fox 8. 

Strangely enough, this isn't even the first time we've seen a woman escape the trunk of her kidnapper's car in Alabama this year. And as we pointed out then, every new car sold in the United States is required to have an easily visible interior trunk release to help both curious children and the occasional kidnap victim from getting trapped.

Ironically, that legislation is largely the product of one woman, Janette Fennell, after she and her husband were kidnapped and forced into the back of their Lexus LS 400 in San Francisco in 1995. She eventually dug through the carpet and pulled at enough wires to activate the trunk release and escape, and spent the rest of the decade fighting for the emergency release requirement in Detroit and Washington. The new law took effect on September 1, 2001.

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