A Florida student has revealed how she utilized her iPhone to get rescued after being kidnapped and raped.
Jaila Gladden found herself in a nightmarish situation when she walked to the local grocery store around midnight on Sept. 4.
After buying medicine and tea, she exited to the parking lot, where a man asked her for a lighter. When she said she didn’t have one, she turned to get inside her car, but felt a knife press against her stomach.
He then forced her into the passenger’s seat, and the man began to drive. He asked her for directions to Atlanta.
Timothy Wilson, 28, was later arrested and charged with rape, false imprisonment, aggravated assault against a police officer, and other crimes, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is in jail awaiting trial.
But Gladden, a senior at the University of West Georgia, fears a worse fate may have befallen her if she hadn’t convinced the kidnapper to give her back her phone.
Gladden told Buzzfeed that she couldn’t guide him toward a gas station—he wanted to rob one for money—unless she could use her phone. When Wilson gave her back her phone, she texted her location to her boyfriend.
When her boyfriend, Tamir Bryant, asked her why she was in Atlanta, she said she was kidnapped.
“I immediately realized it was serious,” Bryant told the outlet. “She would never play like that. She would never say that for no reason.”
When they arrived at a gas station, Wilson took away the phone and placed Gladden in the trunk. When his attempted robbery was unsuccessful, he said he wanted to try a Kroger or Walmart next, so Gladden convinced him to give her her phone back again, and she once more texted her boyfriend.
Gladden “was in fear for her life,” according to a police report of the incident. “More than once she stated she didn’t want him to kill her and was worried that if he saw police lights he would do it.”
With the help of her roommate and the location feature on the phone, officers were able to find Gladden’s car and pull Wilson over.
And her boyfriend says it could very well have saved her life.
“If I didn’t get the location, who knows what would have happened,” Bryant told BuzzFeed. “Her doing it on her own—she was able to outsmart the bad guy.”
The police agreed.
“If this victim did not have her phone and did not think quickly she may not have been as lucky,” a police spokesperson said.
“To be able to do that in this situation says a lot about her,” Carroll County Deputy Police Chief Chris Dobbs added to WSB-TV.