A 20-year-old British model said she was kidnapped after being drugged in Italy.
Italian police said that the model, Chloe Ayling, was released by a 30-year-old Polish citizen, Lukasz Pawel Herba. He was arrested on July 17 after the release, dropping her off at the British Consulate in Milan.
Herba allegedly was trying to sell Ayling to the highest bidder on the so-called deep web.
Ayling said that she went to Milan for a photography job and went to an apartment. There, she was attacked by two men who then loaded her into the trunk of a car, ABC News reported.
Then, the suspect drove her to a cottage in Borgial, Italy, located near the French border, police told ABC. She was handcuffed to a wooden chest in a bedroom until July 17 when she was released.
“She demonstrated a braveness and a strength of will that one would not expect in a 20-year-old,” her lawyer, Francesco Pesce told ABC. “What she has been through is truly terrifying and I hope that what she did to help the investigation will subsequently help other potential kidnapping victims.”
According to The Telegraph, her captors claimed to be part of a group called “Black Death” and threatened to sell her for $300,000 (270,000 pounds) if her agent didn’t pay the ransom for her release.
Ayling, 20, told the paper that she feared for her life “second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour.” The men, who wore masks, drugged her with ketamine.
She was told that she would likely have been trafficked to the Middle East.
Herba, who lives in the U.K., was arrested by police and confessed. Investigators said the plot to kidnap her required months of planning. His home was raided.
“A person wearing black gloves came from behind and put one hand on my neck and one on my mouth to stop me from screaming,” Ayling said in her statement.
“A second person wearing a black balaclava gave me an injection in my right forearm. I think I lost consciousness. When I woke up I was wearing a pink bodysuit and the socks I am wearing now.
“I realized I was in the boot of a car with my wrists and ankles handcuffed, adhesive tape on my mouth. I was inside a bag and was only able to breathe through a small hole.”
Italian police recreated the way in which Chloe Ayling was kidnapped.
Then, they tied her legs and feet together, leaving her immobilzed.
“They watched me, they stopped me from fleeing and they threatened to kill me if I did,” she said, according to The Telegraph. “I didn’t want to eat until July 14 as I was so stressed,” she added. “I didn’t trust what I was being offered.”