UPDATE: Downtown Kidnapping victim speaks out
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – Chattanooga Police say four people have been arrested in connection with a kidnapping Downtown.
Officers say 19-year-old Christopher Turner, 19-year-old Jeffery McClendon, Jr., 20-year-old Twain Jackson and an unidentified 17-year-old were arrested on kidnapping and robbery charges Tuesday.
Police say on August 25th, three of the suspects rushed a 19-year-old man as he approached his car at 2nd and Market Streets and forced him into his car. The victim, who fears for his safety and is now moving, asked that his identity not be publicized.
Today he told his shared his story with Eyewitness News.
He says had just wrapped up his shift at Buffalo Wild Wings downtown and was walking to his car around midnight.
He says he noticed four young men coming toward him and knew something was wrong.
"They told me to get in the trunk," said the victim, "and I said come on man, I have a six week-old little girl, don't do this to me."
They hit him over the head and forced him into the trunk of his Chrysler.
He spent the next 10 hours in the trunk of his own car.
The teen's kidnappers made several stops, eventually demanding directions to his Mountain Creek apartment home.
Police say they robbed the home of electronics. Then, with their victim in the trunk, the men pawned the items at local shops.
The whole time the 19 year-old says he stayed calm and considered his options.
"I thought maybe I could pop out my tail light, or pop open the trunk with a tool I had in my trunk," said the teen, "but obviously I did the right thing because I am still here."
He says he considered writing goodbye notes to his loved on a pad of paper he had in his work apron. Instead he chose to stay positive, and it paid off.
He managed to connect with one of his kidnappers by talking about his infant daughter.
"Throughout the night I guess he thought about it, and he said we're not going to kill you," he told Channel 3, "he said he couldn't let his little girl grow up without a daddy, and he couldn't do that to mine."
Eventually the nightmare ended in an alleyway on Bailey Avenue. The men cracked the trunk, tossed his keys inside and told him to count to 100 before going free.
"That whole time I was counting I was having to catch my breath because I was so excited but I was scared," he said, "what if they were lying?"
The men kept their word.
It was pawn shop employees and phone records that helped police put the four behind bars.
The three men and the teen have been charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery.
Officials say more charges may be pending. Police believe the same four suspects were involved in a similar kidnapping incident just days later. In that case, the victim used a trunk release to escape. In the 19 year-old's case, his car was an older model and did not have a release lever.
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