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Traffic stop in Maryland leads to rescue of kidnapping victim inside U-Haul truck, police say

Dennis Bell, 62, of Lanham, was arrested May 12 after police received multiple calls about a U-Haul truck driving erratically and hitting parked vehicles.
/ Source: TODAY

A traffic stop the night of Friday, May 12 in Lanham, Maryland, led to the rescue of a kidnapping victim, police said.

Dennis Bell, 62, of Lanham, was arrested Friday after troopers from the College Park Barrack received multiple calls about a U-Haul truck driving erratically and hitting parked vehicles. Responding police found the victim seated on the floor without clothes and with apparent wounds on her fingers, according to a news release by Maryland State Police.

The victim’s name and age were not released. A state police spokesperson said the victim is an adult woman but declined to answer further questions Saturday, citing the ongoing and active investigation.

Police said that Bell allegedly made contact with the victim at a convenience store in D.C. Friday morning.

“The victim told police that Bell pushed her into the U-Haul truck and threatened her life if she did not comply with his demands,” the release stated.

“Bell reportedly drove around all day with the victim sitting on the floor board in the front seat. The victim reported that while in Bell’s truck, he removed her clothing and used a pocket knife to stab her fingers,” according to the release. “The victim informed police that she did not know where she was throughout the day while Bell continued to drive.”

Police started receiving calls about Bell’s erratic driving around 9:45 p.m. Friday. He refused to pull over after troopers attempted to conduct a traffic stop, the agency said.

The truck eventually became disabled in a ditch. Bell refused verbal commands to get out of the U-Haul. The troopers gained entry through the passenger side window and discovered the victim. She was taken to the hospital for medical treatment, police said.

Bell was uncooperative and refused to identify himself to police. He was arrested and taken to the hospital and later transported to the Upper Marlboro Department of Corrections.

He faces 14 criminal charges including first-degree assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, fourth-degree sex offense, possession of suspected crack cocaine and driving while impaired. He also faces 19 traffic charges related to the incident. It’s not clear if he has obtained an attorney.

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