Arizona Woman Helps Save Herself During Kidnapping By Passing Note To A Stranger
After being kidnapped by a man disguised as an Uber driver, a woman helped save herself by passing a note to a stranger at an Arizona gas station asking them to call 911.
On Aug. 22, 2023, a customer at a Chevron gas station in Seligman, Arizona, got quite the shock when another customer passed them a note written on a yellow sticky note. The woman revealed her name in the note, and she explained that she had been kidnapped. She asked the stranger to call 911.
The note also gave details such as a phone number and a description of the van the woman was being held in against her will. It also explained that her kidnapper’s plan was to next go to Kingman and Las Vegas, according to a statement from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office (YCSO).
PEOPLE reported that the customer then called 911, giving a report that stated the van with the kidnapped woman had just left westbound on I-40. The customer was also able to give police details they had observed such as what the abducted woman and her kidnapper were wearing.
YCSO Deputies responded immediately and were able to use the details the caller provided to track down the van with the help of the Department of Public Safety. The van was stopped at Mile Post 116 on I-40, and the adult female victim was rescued.
The kidnapper has been identified as 41-year-old Jacob Wilhoit, and he was apprehended without incident, according to the police. Meanwhile, the YCSO soon discovered that the victim had been reported missing by her mother, and she had been considered missing/endangered since earlier that afternoon. Wilhoit had even been entered as a person of interest. ABC News reported that the victim and kidnapper knew each other.
According to 8 News Now, the victim was taken by Wilhoit around 7 a.m. on Monday, the day before she was rescued. He wore a wig and pretended to be an Uber driver, picking her up at a car dealership in Phoenix, Arizona. He restrained her with zip ties and planned to take her to Las Vegas. Along the way, they spent the night at Lake Mead and were continuing on the road when they stopped at the gas station in Seligman where the victim was able to reach out for help.
Multiple firearms were found in Wilhoit's car. He now faces charges of threatening, aggravated assault, unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping and other crimes, reported NBC News.
“The victim’s extraordinary action in passing the note, the customer’s willingness to assist, and the quick actions of YCSO and DPS saved the victim from her kidnapper and allowed her to return home with her family,” the sheriff’s office stated.