After a three-day search, Carlesha Freeland-Gaither has been rescued and her accused abductor arrested by police. The 22-year-old nurses' assistant was kidnapped Sunday evening from the street just blocks away from her home in Philadelphia's Germantown-Penn Knox neighborhood.
A coalition of authorities, including state police, U.S. Marshals, ATF officers, and FBI agents, arrested David Barnes for Freeland-Gaither's abduction. A culmination of tips, GPS data, and Barnes' extensive criminal record spanning multiple states led to police finding the two in a parked car at a shopping center in Jessup, Maryland. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Barnes' arrest was the result of determined police work, a family's dedication to finding a daughter, and sheer luck, including a credit report so bad it led a car salesman to put a GPS device in Barnes' Ford in case it had to be repossessed.
That device became critical Wednesday afternoon when law enforcement officials near Richmond, Va., recognized Barnes from news reports as the man they were looking for in an unrelated case, in which Barnes allegedly assaulted and poured bleach on a young girl. On Tuesday, the FBI put out a wanted poster with Barnes' photo for that attack.
After conferring with law enforcement officials in Philadelphia and agreeing they were looking for the same man, investigators used the GPS device to track Barnes to a parking lot in Jessup.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Freeland-Gaither had moved to Philadelphia from Maryland two years prior, and police were searching for a connection between her and Barnes. But authorities later told the paper that Barnes, who was also charged in 2005 with the violent rape of his estranged wife, "targeted her at random."
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told ABC News that Freeland-Gaither's willingness to fight her abductor "probably helped keep her alive." According to eyewitness reports from the night of her abduction, Freeland-Gaither kicked out windows of Barnes' car as she fought to escape.
"My understanding is, even after she was in the car and bound, she continued to struggle with this guy," Ramsey said.
The FBI confirmed to USA Today that Barnes is currently being held on a Virginia warrant for allegedly abducting and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl and will likely be charged with federal crimes for Freeland-Gaither's abduction. The Philadelphia U.S. attorney's office, the Associated Press reports, has yet to file any charges in the case.