Kidnapped woman hospitalized
By Melonie Roberts
A rural Washburn woman was hospitalized after being kidnapped from her home.
According to Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly, the woman was kidnapped from her home on Trent Road in McDonald County. Two men broke into her house at about 12:30 p.m. Friday, threw her on the floor and demanded money, drugs and her car.
"They ransacked her house," Epperle said. "She told them just to take the car, and they told her she was coming with them.
"They threw her into the trunk of her vehicle and drove to Cassville, where they used her bank card to withdraw $350 from her Arvest bank account."
The subjects then drove to the Eagle Rock area, where the woman managed to get the trunk of her 2011 Chevrolet Malibu open. The driver stopped the vehicle and one of the men came to the back and, according to Epperly, "thumped her on the head and slammed the trunk shut."
The driver then traveled to Farm Road 1180, where the two men exited the car, opened the trunk and dragged the 46-year-old woman from the car.
"They kicked her and beat on her a bit and then rolled her down a hill," Epperly said. "She had no shoes, but managed to make it to the nearest inhabited residence and notify the sheriff's office."
While undergoing treatment for her injuries at Mercy Hospital in Cassville, Barry County Detective Rob Evenson told the victim he would contact the bank to report the bank card stolen.
"They used the card at First State Bank in Cassville," Epperly said. "They were wearing face masks or bandanas. We subsequently found out the suspects had used the bank card at other locations in Berryville, Ark."
A total of $1,150 was stolen from the account, he said.
The victim reported the men to be very young, standing at about 5-8. They were believed to be using fake Russian accents.
Video surveillance of the banks and ATMs where the transactions were made are being subpoenaed for the investigation.
"The Federal Bureau of Investigation may become involved with the case," Epperly said. "They kidnapped the woman and took her across state lines."
The victim's Malibu was later recovered, with the assistance of the Missouri Department of Conservation, from a branch of Roaring River near Eagle Rock.
Epperly said the victim was able to identify a white utility or panel van that may be involved with the crimes.
"She saw it in the parking lot of a storage unit, where she was able to open the trunk," Epperly said. "We think the driver of the van may have assisted the suspects after they abandoned the victim's car."
Epperly said it was fortunate the event occurred on Friday.
"If it had happened today, with the weather this cold, she might not have made it," he said.
The Barry-Lawrence Chapter of Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for tips that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on those who were involved in this felony crime. Tips may be submitted by calling 354-TIPS (8477) or toll-free at 1-888-635-TIPS (8477). Tipsters may remain anonymous.