Gwinnett County police in Georgia are crediting a 23-year-old mother for jumping from a fast-moving car with her 1-year-old child to escape from a kidnapper.
The incident took place at an Exxon Gas Station in Lawrenceville, where she lives, on the night of Aug. 18. The woman was eating outside beside her car, and her 1-year-old was inside sleeping when the suspect approached.
"The male reached for what the victim believed was a gun and punched her in the face multiple times," a Gwinnett County statement explained. "The male told the victim to get in the backseat of the car with her baby while he got in the driver’s seat."
Footage from the gas station's security cameras shows the man recklessly driving out of the parking lot with two doors still open.
"The suspect told the victim that he wanted money from her, and he also said he would choke her to death and kill her," Flynn explained. "The victim at that point and time decided the best course would be to jump from the car."
They were traveling at about 50 miles per hour at the time.
Removing the car seat with her baby still bucked in, the mother was able to exit the moving vehicle with her child. Thankfully, neither mother nor child was seriously injured in the escape.
"Had the victim not jumped from the vehicle in this case, we may be investigating this as a homicide," said Flynn.
According to the police report, the vehicle was found abandoned the next day within the city limits of Duluth, Georgia, about 6 miles from the gas station where the kidnapping took place.
Having escaped the incredible ordeal unharmed with her child, the woman still fears that the suspect will find her and is suffering from trauma over the incident, Flynn said.
Gwinnett County Police is seeking help from the public and has released footage from the Exxon gas station in the hopes of finding out more information about the suspect.
Authorities believe the crime was not premeditated but rather an opportunistic attempt. "The victim had never met the suspect before and he appeared to target her randomly," they wrote.