September 18, 2014

Elyria
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North Ridgeville police still investigating alleged abduction

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Police are continuing their investigation into a reported abduction-assault that occurred in October despite the fact the victim has changed her story of events leading up to her being found in an unpopulated area of the city.

“We are still of the belief that an assault did occur and that she was very fearful, but there have been some inconsistencies in her story of events leading up to where she was found,” North Ridgeville Police Det. Lt. Greg Petek said Friday.

Listen to the 911 call:

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“There have been several changes in her story, but we can’t establish yet which one is true,” Petek said.

With the help of a GPS tracking unit in the woman’s cell phone during a chilling 911 call made by the woman in the early morning hours of Oct. 5, the county’s 911 dispatch center sent police to an unpopulated area of the city off Harbor Drive near state Route 83 where they found the semi-conscious 43-year-old woman lying near her van in several inches of mud following a period of heavy rainfall.

The woman, who police have not identified, told detectives she was driving on Cleveland Street in Elyria in the pre-dawn hours (sometime between 3 and 5:30 a.m.) when a black man jumped into her apparently unlocked vehicle at a traffic light and held a knife to her.

After driving around for a time, the woman and her vehicle were located with the help of a chilling 911 call in which the woman could be heard screaming for help just before a man could be heard saying “she’s dead” in a low, drawn-out voice.

The woman sustained a bleeding head injury for which she was treated at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, where she was admitted for a short time.

Police did not initially know whether the woman had been sexually assaulted, but it has subsequently been determined no rape occurred, Petek said.

There were no apparent witnesses to the abduction or assault, and on one has come forward with any information since to help police, who say the woman never gave them a clear reason for her short-lived d kidnapping.

“We only have what she’s giving us,” Petek said, adding “we’re just not taking it (the woman’s initial account) at face value.”

Petek declined to detail the inconsistencies in the woman’s account of the incident, but said detectives still don’t know whether her attacker was a stranger or someone known to her.

“She’s changed the story about where it (the assault) occurred,” Petek said.

Police are still awaiting results of tests of evidence collected at the scene, which was sent to the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation lab for analysis.

“We still haven’t had any witness or anyone come forward to corroborate what she’s telling us,” Petek said.

Authorities are still asking that anyone with any information about the case call the department at (440) 327-2191.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.