Tia Withers had just finished shopping at Walmart with her two children in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, when, sitting in her truck, she saw an appalling act unfold in the car across from her’s.
A woman and boy were right beside a car with a man, and when the man glanced away for a moment, the woman turned to Withers to whisper: “Help me, we have been kidnapped.”
Then Withers heard the man tell the woman that if she and the boy didn’t get back into the car, he would kill then.
Withers stopped her car in front of the vehicle the boy and woman had just gotten into, and she acted fast. She called 911, and alerted them to a kidnapping.
“Two people have been kidnapped. They are sitting there in a car, I am blocking them off,” the dispatchers heard her say.
The male driver, seeing her on the phone, made to ram his truck into her’s—so Withers had to back off for her and her children’s safety. The police heard it all.
“Oh my God, oh my God,” Withers continued, crying now, alerting the police that they have driven off. But she wasn’t giving up yet, intently following behind the kidnapper’s vehicle, giving the 911 dispatcher information as to what was happening right then and there.
“He kidnapped this woman and boy, I’m trying to follow him, and he is by Walgreens now,” she said, as they continued down the road.
“Please somebody help,” Withers pleaded, according to NBC.
This was just the information the police had needed.
“We are getting them, we are trying to get them.”
It turns out, the kidnapped woman had managed to dial 911 while in captivity but wasn’t able to give the dispatchers any information.
By the time Withers had called, the local dispatchers had an open call coming in from the nearby Taylor Square Shopping Center, but they “couldn’t get any information.”
The dispatcher told police all they had was “a guy keeps talking about a Western Union.” Later, the victim shared that he had threatened her life and said she had to take out money to give him from a Western Union, but the dispatchers at the time saw no Western Union near where the call was coming from and had no leads.
Withers continued to follow the car down the road all the way up a state route to a Tim Horton’s, and police cars caught up and cut off the kidnapper’s vehicle.
“Oh my God, he got out of the car, and he just threw something in the grass,” Withers said, watching the arrest while still on the call.
Reynoldsburg police Lt. Bill Early told NBC that the man, Michael McKinney, had allegedly kidnapped a woman and boy in North Carolina, driving them up through Cleveland and then Western Columbus before Tia Withers was able to help make a 911 call and alert the police as to what was really going on. They searched the bush Withers mentioned, and found McKinney had been in possession of drugs.
The victims were rescued and unharmed. McKinney was arrested and charged with kidnapping, extortion, and drug possession.
“Oh I am so thankful for you guys. Oh thank you guys!” Withers said on the call.