A Philadelphia woman rescued three days after her violent abduction was caught on surveillance video was “very fortunate” to live through the ordeal, the city’s police chief said Thursday.
The man who kidnapped 22-year-old nursing student Carlesha Freeland-Gaither already had a rape conviction in Philadelphia and was wanted in Virginia for abduction, attempted murder and aggravated assault, said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
“He has a very extensive criminal history, a violent predator, and we’re very fortunate to get her back alive,” he told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie.
Police took Delven Barnes, 37, into custody Wednesday night after apprehending him just outside Baltimore in Jessup, Maryland, as he tried to drive off with his victim. Freeland-Gaither has since been released to her family.
Ramsey also said:
- Neither Barnes nor his victim knew each other: “It could just be a chance encounter,” he said. “We still have got a lot of investigative work to do but this was a stranger abduction as far as we know right now.”
- The video that captured the violent abduction played a key role in the rescue: “There’s absolutely no question. I’ve been in policing for 46 years and I’ve never actually seen a kidnapping on video.”
- The task force that tracked Barnes included members of the ATF, FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service: The cooperation led to authorities tracking down the car of the alleged kidnapper. “It worked out great and it’s unusual, because usually, the longer these things go, the less likely you are to find the victim alive.”
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