A Georgia college student who was raped and kidnapped last fall has shared the harrowing details of her experience — including how she saved her own life with some smart thinking and smart technology.
Jaila Gladden, 21, was shopping at a grocery store one night in September 2017 when a stranger pressed a knife to her stomach, forced her into her car, raped her, and tried to drive her all the way to Michigan in a terrifying kidnapping attempt.
The man, later identified by authorities as Timothy Wilson, didn’t manage to get out of state, though, because Jaila led the police right to them with a smartphone and some very clever, clear-headed maneuvering, which she recently recounted to BuzzFeed.
On September 4, the University of West Georgia senior left her Carrollton, Georgia apartment just before midnight to drive to a Kroger grocery store.
After she made her purchase, surveillance video from the store captured her walking in the well-lit parking lot to her car when a stranger approached her.
She told BuzzFeed that the man followed her right up to her car, where he held a knife to her stomach and ordered her to get in.
He climbed into the driver’s seat, and started to drive toward Atlanta, which was 50 miles away.
Before they got there, they made a stop; the man pulled over into the back of an abandoned church, told her to take off her clothes, and raped her, telling her there was ‘no purpose in crying’ as she begged him to let her go.
Following the rape, they got back on the road. The man said he was going drive to Michigan, and charged Jaila with finding a gas station for him to rob first.
That’s when Jaila had her bright idea. She convinced the man that she needed her phone to look up the locations of gas stations and help him navigate there. Surprisingly, he gave it to her — but she took no chances.
She turned the brightness of the screen down as far as it would go so as not to draw attention, then opened up a text to her boyfriend, Tamir Bryant.
She then used her iPhone’s ‘share my location’ feature to send him her GPS data.
‘It was the most logical thing to do,’ she said.
Because she didn’t want the man to catch her, Jaila was cautious with her texts, firing off only short messages. When Tamir asked why she was all the way in Atlanta, she replied, ‘Kid napped.’
Though Tamir told her to ‘stop playing,’ he didn’t seem to actually doubt that she was in trouble, and quickly followed up with, ‘I’m headed to the police station.’
SOURCE: CARLY STERN