ORLEANS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman was able to escape from a kidnapper by saying she needed air for her tire at a gas station, deputies say.
Kurt Gene Franklyn, a 52-year-old from Roseville, has been charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct, first degree home invasion, unlawful imprisonment and domestic assault, the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office said in a Tuesday release.
Deputies say on Oct. 31 at 10:30 a.m., authorities started looking for the victim when her neighbor called 911 and reported she had texted “HELP.” The neighbor told dispatch the woman “was going through some domestic issues” with her ex-boyfriend.
She was not at her home but was believed to be driving in the 3000 block of S. State Road in Orange Township, authorities say.
Deputies say Franklyn had earlier rented a van and allegedly went to the woman’s home, located on Ottawa Drive near Long Lake Road in Orleans Township. They say when the woman left to drop her kids off at school, he went into the home and turned off the main power breaker.
When she got home and went to investigate why there was no electricity, the suspect attacked her, deputies say.
“Over the next couple hours, the victim was able to keep the suspect calm as she formulated an escape plan and was later able to convince him to go with her to retrieve property out of his personal vehicle, which was parked south of Ionia,” the sheriff’s office said.
While driving him to his car, she “wisely” pulled into a gas station, saying she needed to put air in the tire, the sheriff’s office said.
Once she got out of the car, she ran into the gas station and screamed for help. She told them she had been kidnapped and raped, the sheriff’s office said. The gas station called 911 and deputies arrived and arrested Franklyn.
Deputies say Franklyn had binoculars, knives, restraints and pepper spray, and at the crime scene they found evidence of kidnapping and assault.
Franklyn was arraigned on his charges on Tuesday, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies are continuing their investigation. Anyone with information about Franklyn or anyone who had a similar experience with him should contact the sheriff’s office detective bureau at 616.527.5737 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345 or silentobserver.org.