A missing teen-aged girl has finally surfaced after 29 days. She comes forward with her harrowing story of unimaginable abuse in the hands of her kidnapper and his cohorts.
The girl had been held captive in a mobile home by three men who restrained her with zip ties, threatened to kill her with guns, and horrifically took turns raping her. The girl shared she was treated “like an animal." Charging documents by the prosecutors show that she was held against her will in a closet and her captors tried to kill her on multiple occasions.
The girl finally managed to escape when her captors changed locations and she was temporarily left alone when they went out to buy food. She fled, running door-to-door to nearby properties seeking help. Then she decided to swim across a portion of a 150-acre lake. She sprinted through a field until she reached a residential area and was seen by a farmer who recognized her from all the missing posters plastered all over town, and helped her report to the authorities.
While she was waiting for the police in the farmer’s pickup truck, she saw a vehicle belonging to one of her captors. She said to the farmer “there’s the car, there’s the car.”
The police identified the driver of said vehicle as Steven Powers, 20, of Mankato. He was arrested. They then arrested Thomas Barker, 32, and Joshua Holby, 31, both from Carlos, Minn. All three men are charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment. Barker and Power also face charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and Barker faces an additional charge of second-degree assault.
The three men first appeared on court on Thursday. The case is still under investigation.
The girl has reunited with her family, and authorities hail the teenager’s spirit and courage describing her as an “unbelievable young woman.”
She was abducted on August 8 when Barker, a family acquaintance, lured her away from home on the pretext that he needed her help to talk to his son who happens to be her friend. But she was taken to a mobile home instead where her 29-days nightmare began.
The girl was sexually abused several times. Her abductors also threatened to kill her several times. Barker even tried to drown her in a batthub. Court documents show that at one point, she was made to stand in a bucket with a rope around her neck. Then Holby forced her off the bucket making it nearly impossible for her to breathe.
Authorities hail the girl’s spirit and courage and said they were proud of the “unbelievable young woman.”
The girl’s mother also praised her daughter’s strength inspite of the terror she went through. She said of her daughter: “I think she’s a warrior. She’s probably the strongest person I Have ever known. “
The girl would have been on her first day of freshman high school on the day she was abducted . She is set to start classes next week.
She’s still having nightmares of what she went through and would even see the faces of her tormentors in her dreams. But she’s fighting and has the will to carry on, and see justice served to those who did her wrong.