In Mexico, South America and Central America abduction has become a profitable business. In the Middle East Jihadists use abductions to make political statements. In the US abductions usually target children or women and most of the time the victim is sexually abused and killed. This article will provide the average citizen with techniques and tactics to aid in preventing abduction.
The techniques and tactics presented herein maybe used to teach females and children but they may need to be modified. Although some of the information contained herein may seem to be common sense, children and women continue to be abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered at an alarming rate.
All you have to do is watch the evening news for a week and you’ll see stories on abductions. In Georgia a teenage girl was abducted from the parking lot of a carwash while she was walking home from a friend’s house. The abduction was caught on surveillance camera. The abductor who was identified and later caught was a sexual predator. His technique, he simply walked up to the girl grabbed her by the wrist and took her away. The victim simply followed her captor and did not resist.
A little girl was taken from her bedroom by a sexual predator that lived across the street from her home. He abducted the child, sexually molested her, kept her alive for a few days then buried her alive. The police conducting a routine neighborhood canvas for any information actually went to the home where the child was being held while the child was still alive. The sexual predator buried the child alive shortly thereafter.
A beautiful college co-ed was working a softball game was abducted and killed by the umpire. Her body was never found and her scumbag abductor and murderer is currently on trial, he has never admitted to abducting and killing the girl but he did make a jailhouse confession to a fellow inmate and stated “they will never find her body, I cut her up and spread her remains in various places.”
The news media is filled with stories like these, the need to learn effective abduction prevention techniques and tactics are necessary. A motivated and committed abductor can and will abduct anyone they target as a potential victim especially children. A child no matter how many Tae Kwon Do classes he or she may take whether he or she is a “black belt” guarantees nothing. A child cannot physically beat up an adult who is committed to abducting them. Your superstar black belt club member will not prevail in a physical confrontation with a deviant.
Many women’s self defense classes although well intended are mostly ineffective when it comes to learning how to truly protect themselves. A one-day course will at best give them a good work out, but as soon as they leave the training facility, they will most likely forget what they just learned.
I’m not saying that potentially good technique was not taught but in one afternoon most classes will cover multiple scenarios making it too difficult for the student to absorb the material. Weapons are usually never taught in these classes. The mentality of most people especially women is very negative against carrying a weapon for self-protection.
Everyone equates weapons with guns and knives. Although they are viable self-protection options but carrying these weapons in many jurisdictions without a permit is illegal. There are however legal alternatives that can be carried without having to apply for a permit. A young woman carrying a sharp metal nail file in her purse will not be arrested for carrying a concealed weapon.
This same legal weapon can be used against a potential abductor with great effect. Carrying a good sturdy ballpoint pen won’t get you in trouble either. There are also small edged weapons called push daggers manufactured by Cold Steel™ that can be attached to your key ring and deployed and used against an abductor very effectively. I’m not sure on the legalities regarding carrying a push dagger so please check your local laws.
If you decide to carry a weapon it will only serve its purpose if you carry it ready to be used at the drop of a hat. In other words, the weapon must be deployed and ready to go. If the weapon is in a purse, a backpack, or even in your pocket you may not have the time to deploy it and use it.
When leaving a store, the office, a movie theater, a friend’s house and you’re alone, the weapon should be held in your hand preferably concealed and ready for action. If an abductor approaches you an attempts to grab and drag you into a vehicle the weapon can be used against them. Sometimes abductors use weapons of there own against intended victim.
Take the case of Lawrence Sigmund Bittaker and Roy Lewis Norris these criminals plotted to kidnap, rape, and murder teenage girls “for fun.” They planned to kill at least one girl of each “teen” age, from 13 through 19, and to record the events on tape and film. In November of 1978, Bittaker obtained a van he dubbed “Murder Mack.”
On June 24, 1979, 16-year-old Linda Schaeffer vanished following a church function, never to be seen again. Joy Hall, 18, disappeared without a trace in Redondo Beach, California, on July 8. Two months later on September 2, Jacqueline Lamp, 13, and Jackie Gilliam, 15, were lost while thumbing rides in Redondo Beach. Shirley Ledford, 16, of Sundland, was the only victim recovered by authorities.
Abducted on October 31, she was found the next morning in a Tigunga residential district. Strangled with a coat hanger, she had first been subjected to “sadistic and barbaric abuse,” with her breasts and face mutilated, arms slashed, and her body covered with bruises.
Bittaker and Norris would drive up alongside their victims, spray them with Mace, and then pull them into the van where they would be tied with duct tape. They used the radio to drown out the screaming. They would then drive the victims to an isolated mountain road where the rape and murder would take place. All the murders were tape-recorded and photographed “for fun.” Bittaker and Norris are linked to possibly 30 or 40 other victims.
Training in counter weapons tactics such as defending against a chemical agent attack should be part of any self-defense program. Many so called “self defense experts” will tell you that there is no way one can defend against a chemical irritant attack. This is absolutely not true. There are situations when you don’t see the attack and you will get sprayed. You can’t defend against something you didn’t see coming.
Let’s say your walking to your car suddenly you see someone approaching in an aggressive manner, you can’t see his hands because they are concealed, assume that he is carrying a weapon. Fleeing if possible should be your first line of defense. Noted combatives instructor Kelly McCann developed the 30 yards, 30 seconds rule.
If at 30 yards and 30 seconds away from your suspected assailant you notice him and determine he may assault you, flee. In fact, at that distance (or any distance), if you notice a pending problem you should do just that.
Now let’s look at some abduction scenarios and the different ways you can defend against them.
Ok, you’re caught by surprise and you’re unarmed and it’s too late to flee, the subject produces what seems to be an aerosol can and points it in your direction. Immediately turn around raise your shoulders in a shrugging motion and place your hands on your head (like if something was going to hit you on the head), hold your breath, and run as fast as you can away from the attackers extended arm.
If the attacker is using a chemical agent that deploys as a stream, by turning away quickly and shrugging your shoulders you may prevent the stream from hitting you in the face the intended target area. By holding your breath as you run away you can prevent from inhaling the aerosol agent if it’s deployed as a fog or mist.
By running away from the attackers extended arm you are preventing him from chasing after you. If the attacker chases you he runs the risk of gassing himself especially if the irritant is deployed as a fog or mist. There’s always the possibility that some of the aerosol will affect you. You will feel a burning sensation, you may have problems breathing, and your eyes may involuntarily shut. If this happens, don’t stop and attempt to wipe your eyes. This will only spread the chemical; the only way to attempt to relive the discomfort is to flush your face with cold water.
Again, if this happens, run away do not stay and attempt to wipe your face. Running with impaired vision and labored breathing can be difficult and potentially dangerous but staying put can almost assure that you will suffer some type of attack or abduction. If you get hit and you can’t run away for whatever reason, drop immediately to the ground and relax your body. The attacker most likely will try to grab you and remove you from the area.
Rarely will they try to hurt you at the site of the initial attack. The anatomy of a crime were a person is abducted usually happens in two stages. The initial crime scene (were the initial assault and abduction is committed) and the secondary crime scene (usually were the abductor will take you and almost always is where the victim is assaulted and killed)
Falling down serves two purposes; one: it is very difficult to lift someone from the ground even if she is not resisting. I can tell you this from my experience as a police officer, many times we had to remove protestors who were resisting passively and trying to move “dead” weight was no easy task, it took several officers to remove one protestor.
Second, as the attacker attempts to grab you he’s within attacking distance, attach yourself to their leg, arm, or torso. Hopefully, if you deployed your weapon on time, this is the right moment to use it. If you’re carrying an edged weapon, you can stab him in the thigh, groin, or any area available to you. You can also sever his Achilles tendon, this will cause him to fall down and he will loose the ability to chase you.
If your weapon is a firearm you can press the weapon up against the attacker and fire. The chance of you hitting an innocent bystander is always a possibility, but due to the close proximity of the attacker and the fact that you will press the weapon into his body reduces this possibility to some degree. If you’re unarmed, strike at the groin area; bite his leg, face, calf, do whatever you have to do defend yourself.
Remember, when you’re fighting for your life anything and everything goes even biting. I personally would rather be tested for AIDS every three months and live than to do nothing and die.
The Drive Up and Jump Out
Another method used by abductors against children and females is the drive up abduction. Usually in the drive up abduction the subject will pull next to the intended victim and point a gun at them. The victim usually freezes at the site of the weapon and will comply with the abductor and either get in his vehicle or is taken on foot to another location where the assault will take place.
If you’re approached in this manner and you’re unarmed, run do not comply with his demands do not get in the vehicle. As you run, run in a serpentine pattern (side to side in “S” pattern). I know I know how about if the guy shoots me? You can’t outrun a bullet etc. It’s true you can’t outrun a bullet but in most attempted abductions the last thing the abductor wants is to draw attention to himself. You stand a pretty good chance of escaping with your life if you run away. If you comply you will most likely die! In my opinion, the risk to reward factor is heavily weighted in your direction.
Drive By and Snatch
In a drive by and snatch situation the abductor drives up to an intended victim jumps out of his vehicle, snatches the victim and throws him/her inside the vehicle is also very common. If you’re approached in such manner where the abductor has jumped out of his vehicle and grabbed you by an arm, quickly drop your center (you’ll look like your riding a horse) and pull in the opposite direction of his pulling action.
It is important for you to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground and you back as straight as possible. This will prevent the abductor from dragging you into the vehicle. If your foot comes up off the ground he will easily drag you. A good healthy dose of screaming at the top of your lungs is in order at this time.
If you’re armed with an edged weapon, instead of resisting his pulling action go with it and stab him in the center of the chest repeatedly or slash him on his face, across the nose, or stab the eyes. You should if possible always stab the abductor high in the body; i.e. the chest, neck, shoulders, and face. This way, the attacker will see himself being stabbed and he should recoil, the predator suddenly becomes the prey.
If you stab him any lower and he may not see you stabbing him and he’ll just assume that you’re fighting back and will continue his attack. Many stabbing victims don’t know they are being stabbed until after the attack or when they start to become nauseous and become weak due to loss of blood.
If you’re armed with a handgun, enter into the attackers pulling action press the muzzle to his chest and shoot him. To some readers this may seem too extreme but you’re fighting for your life and you only have one go at it so you must defend yourself at any cost and by any means.
If you must walk, try to walk against traffic instead of with traffic. This way you can see approaching vehicles and this will make it difficult for the drive up and point or the snatch method of abduction. If for some reason you can’t walk against traffic, walk as far away from the edge of the side walk closes to the street. Try to walk in well lit and heavily traveled areas, avoiding walking at night especially by your self. There truly is safety in numbers. Most abductors will avoid taking someone if she is accompanied by another person or a group of people.
Can You Help Me?
Many abductors use a ploy to lure their victims by asking for help. Ted Bundy a serial killer who preyed on young female college students would wear a fake cast and would ask girls for assistance they would help him and never be seen alive again. Around the time of the disappearances of Bundy’s victims, police interviewed college students who told them of a strange man who was seen wearing a cast on either his arm or leg. Supposedly, the stranger seemed to be struggling with books and asking young women nearby for assistance.
Other eyewitnesses reported a strange man in the campus parking lot who had a cast and asked for assistance with his car, a VW bug that he apparently had difficulty starting. Interestingly, around the same area where two of the girls mysteriously disappeared, there was such a man wearing a cast on his arm or leg.
On August of 1974 in Washington’s Lake Sammamish State Park, the remains of some of the missing girls were found and two were later identified. It was remarkable that police were able to identify two of the bodies considering what was left — strands of various colors of hair, five thigh bones, a couple of skulls and a jaw bone. The girls identified were Janice Ott and Denise Naslund, who disappeared on the same day, July 14th. The last people to have seen Ott, a couple picnicking near by, remembered a handsome young man approaching the young woman.
From what the couple could hear of the conversation between Ott and the young man, his name was Ted and he had difficulty loading his boat onto his car because his arm was in a cast. He asked Ott for assistance and she agreed to help. That was the last time twenty-three-year-old Janice Ott was seen alive.
Denise Naslund was spending the afternoon with her boyfriend and friends when she walked towards the restroom in the park, never to return again. That afternoon, around where she disappeared, a man who wore a cast and asked for help with his boat approached a couple of women. They were unable to assist the attractive young man. However, Denise Naslund was the kind of girl to help someone in need, especially someone with a broken arm–an act of kindness that cost her life. Denise Naslund was not the last woman to disappear and found dead.
Our parents teach us to be helpful and to lend a hand to someone in need. Unfortunately, being helpful might get you abducted and killed. We can’t live in a paranoid state but we need to be “cautious and observant” If someone is asking you for help look around, is there anyone hanging around that looks out of place? Will you have to go behind a wall, a bush, a sign, etc. that will prevent someone from seeing you?
If it’s at night, is the person asking for help standing in a poorly lit area? Never second-guess your instincts. If you feel that something is wrong it probably is, get out of there as fast as you can, tell the person that you’re injured and you can not lead assistance. Never lend your cell phone, by doing so you’ll be within grabbing or striking distance. Instead, if the person asks to use your cell phone tell them that you will make the call for them.
Call the police if you feel there is something wrong. The worst thing that can happen is that if you’re wrong and the request for help was legitimate, by calling the police you’ll be helping him/her get help. If it was a predator looking for an easy mark, he will leave the area.
Sexual predators often use the lost puppy ploy to lure children and abduct them. These criminals have been known to carry a leash and walk around calling out for the supposed lost puppy. Teach your children never to help anyone to look for a puppy or anything else. This is especially true if this person is unknown to him/her. Instead, tell your child to immediately flee the area and run to a safe place, i.e. a friends house, his/her own house etc.
The Fake Police Officer
Sexual predators as well as serial killers have often used the police ploy to abduct their victims. They will approach a potential victim and flash a fake badge, and tell them some type of story to convince the intended victim that they need to accompany him to the police station. In the case of children, these criminals have told them that their parents have been injured and he must take them to the hospital, or that they did something wrong and go to the police station with them.
On November 8th, 1974, a strange but handsome man in a bookstore in a mall in Utah approached eighteen-year-old Carol DaRonch. The stranger told her that he had seen someone trying to break into her car and asked her to go along with him to the parking lot to see if anything had been stolen. Carol thought that the man must have been a mall security guard because he seemed so in control of the situation. When they arrived at the car, she checked it and informed the man everything was there.
The fake police officer, who identified himself as Officer Roseland, was not satisfied and wanted to escort her to police headquarters. He wanted her to ID the supposed criminal and file a complaint. When he led her to a VW bug, she became suspicious and asked for identification. He quickly showed her a gold badge and then escorted her into the car.
He drove off quickly in the opposite direction of the police station and, after a short while, he suddenly stopped the car. Fear had set into Carol DaRonch. The “police officer” suddenly grabbed her and tried to put handcuffs on her. DaRonch screamed for her life. When she screamed, the man pulled out a handgun and threatened to kill her if she didn’t stop.
DaRonch found herself falling out of the car and then suddenly pushed him. He had a crowbar in his hand and was ready to hit her head. Terroruck, kicked his genitals and managed to break free. DaRonch ran towards the road and caught the attention of a couple driving by. They stopped and DaRonch frantically jumped into their car. She was crying hysterically and told them a man had tried to kill her. They immediately took her to the police. Carol was lucky, she got away, others would not be so lucky.
That same evening, the director of a play at a Viewmont High School was approached by a handsome man who asked for her assistance in identifying a car. Yet, she was far too busy and refused him. Again, he later approached her and asked for her assistance, and again she refused him. Something seemed odd, almost scary about the man, but she ignored it and kept on with the work at hand. It disturbed her to see the man again in the back of the auditorium and she wondered what it was he really wanted.
Debby Kent, who was watching the evening performance along with her parents, left early to pick up her brother at the bowling alley. She told her parents that she’d be back to pick them up shortly, but she never did. In fact, she never made it to the car, which stood empty in the school parking lot.
Debby Kent was nowhere to be found. What police did find in the parking lot was a small handcuff key. Later, when police tried to fit the key that they found into the handcuffs worn by DaRonch earlier that night, it was a perfect match. If you’re ever approached by someone claiming to be a police officer and he is in plain clothes, ask to see his I.D. If he is the real deal he will have to problem showing it to you. A quick flash of a badge won’t cut it. Look at the badge and read the inscription on it. What does it say? Is it from your local police department?
Even if it is a legitimate badge a matching I.D. card must accompany it. Again, if he’s the real deal, he will not have any problems showing it to you. If the supposed officer refuses to show you his credentials and threatens to arrest you there’s something wrong! You cannot be arrested for asking an officer to properly identify himself.
If the officer wants for you to accompany him in his vehicle tell him that you can follow him in your own vehicle or you can have a friend take you. If you have no other choice but to accompany the officer, tell him that you will only ride in a marked police car. This should not be a problem if he’s the real thing. Don’t be afraid of being arrested, I would rather be arrested and tell the judge my story then to comply and possibly die.
Sometimes abductors will try to pull over a potential victim using a dashboard police light. This is a very delicate situation. Many times a legitimate police officer will use an unmarked vehicle so they can blend in with traffic, drive around neighborhoods looking for crimes in progress.
If you’re being stopped by a unmarked vehicle with a flashing police light, take into consideration the following; Time and place, is it very early in the morning or very late at night? Are you in heavy traffic or are you in a desolate road? Did you commit a traffic violation? If the attempted stop feels wrong, slow your speed to the posted speed limit or a bit slower, dial 911 on your cell phone and advise them of what’s going on.
Ask for them to send a marked police vehicle. If you don’t have a cell phone, continue to drive slowly until you reach a well lit area or a busy shopping center, or a police station. If none are close by continue to drive slowly. If this is a legitimate traffic stop, a marked police vehicle will soon join in. Remember, you can be arrested for failure to stop or even fleeing.
This is why I recommend that you drive at the posted speed limit or slower if you’re not going to stop. In court, it will be easier to explain your reason for not stopping right away. I sincerely hope that through this article and I can inform and educate those who read it. Maybe the information contained herein will save someone’s life.
Article by Jorge J. Angulo
*Defense Science offers class and private instruction on abduction prevention for adults and children, please go to this link