Woman Escapes Weeks-Long Captivity By Trucker Accused Of Kidnapping Her, Police Said

The two allegedly met on a dating app.

September 04, 2019
Amber Garrison [New York State Police]

Photo by: Amber Garrison [New York State Police]

Amber Garrison [New York State Police]

By: Catherine Townsend

Related To:

A truck driver has been arrested in Iowa after police say he kidnapped a 26-year-old woman he allegedly met on a dating site and held her captive for weeks.

Amber Garrison, of Smyrna, New York, was reported missing in mid-August by her family, according to The Daily Star.

The newspaper reported Garrison was last seen at a Super 8 motel in Norwich on August 9, but had not had any contact with her family since July 19.

Police said Garrison met James Scott Smith, 32, on the POF (formerly Plenty of Fish) dating app around July 20, Des Moines's WOI-DT TV reported.

Mug shot of James Scott Smith [Adair County Sheriff's Office]

Photo by: Mug shot of James Scott Smith [Adair County Sheriff's Office]

Mug shot of James Scott Smith [Adair County Sheriff's Office]

The woman got into Smith's tractor-trailer at a truck stop in Pennsylvania, according to a news release that was posted on Facebook by the Stuart Police Department.

"She reported that she had been assaulted on several occasions and had been forced to remain with the driver of the truck as he traveled through multiple states in his semi," the release read, in part.

According to an arrest affidavit cited by The Charlotte Observer, when Smith learned police were searching for Garrison, he allegedly made her call her mother and email a New York state trooper to tell them she wasn't missing.

On August 31, police in Adair County, Iowa, responded to 911 calls placed by Garrison inside a Casey's Store at around 12:44 p.m., according to the news release. Adair County Dispatch received several 911 calls that morning that are believed to have been from Garrison.

Garrison reportedly told police that, during the earlier calls, she put the phone under her seat since she was unable to speak to the dispatcher.

The dispatcher could only hear a woman "asking someone to drop a knife," according to the affidavit.

Police were finally able to locate Garrison after she dialed emergency services from the Casey's Store.

Garrison then told police that she had been assaulted multiple times. She reportedly sustained several injuries, including a bloody nose, an abrasion, and bruising. She also has a possible infection on her arm from where Smith "forcefully tattooed her," according to the affidavit.

She was taken to the Adair County Hospital for treatment, according to the news release.

Smith allegedly told investigators his relationship with Garrison was consensual, according to the affidavit. But she allegedly told police Smith forced her to have sex every night and beat or threatened her at knifepoint if she refused.

Smith, of Mexico, New York, has been charged with first-degree kidnapping, harassment, domestic assault with a weapon, and obstruction of emergency communication, police said. He remains jailed on a $1,010,000 bond.

Police have stressed this is an ongoing investigation involving several alleged crimes in multiple states and said additional charges are possible.

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