Philadelphia woman Carlesha Freeland-Gaither, 22, was found alive on Wednesday in Jessup, Md. She had been missing for three days after the police released a video showing her being stalked and dragged into a car.
The video was spread virally through social media, horrifying onlookers who saw the spectacle of an innocent, unassuming young woman being abducted from a Phillly street.
On the video, Freeland-Gaither attempts to fight off her attacker before he gets her into the car. She dropped her glasses and cellphone outside of the car.
So how did police track down the woman and ultimately catcher her kidnapper?
Police got a hint of where Freeland-Gaither was when her ATM card was used in Aberdeen, Md., roughly 80 miles south of Philadelphia. The man using her ATM card was caught on surveillance cameras, but it’s unclear whether or not it was Barnes.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the FBI, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, the city’s police union and Philadelphia Citizens Crime Commission came together to offer a $40,000 reward for information leading towards Freeland-Gaither’s safe return.
According to an NBC report, a woman living in Havre De Grace, Md., who chose to remain anonymous, contacted the authorities after she found a bag of trash in her driveway that included a receipt from a supermarket in Philadelphia, a bag of Herr’s potato chips and broken glass.
The receipt tipped the investigators to examine the security footage at the supermarket where the abductor could be seen buying the chips.
The authorities tracked down Delven Barnes, 37, using a GPS device that was installed in his gray Ford Taurus. Officials told NBC that the GPS was in the car because Barnes had poor credit.
Barnes was found with Freeland-Gaither in Jessup, Md., approximately 100 miles south of Philadelphia, and was arrested without incident, said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey at a news briefing.
“We surveilled that vehicle in the area of Jessup, Maryland,” said FBI special agent Edward Hanko. “When the subject exited the vehicle, that’s when Ms. [Freeland-Gaither] was recovered.”
Freeland-Gaither, who has been reunited with her mother, Keisha Gaither, was taken to a Maryland-area hospital Wednesday night, according to police. It wasn’t clear if she sustained any injuries.
Barnes is also the suspect in a case involving the abduction and sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl in Richmond,Va., on October 1st , Capt. Jayson Crawley of the Charles City County Sheriff’s Office told the The Times. Barnes had been charged with attempted capital murder, forcible rape, malicious wounding by throwing a chemical agent and abduction.
Crawley, who attended the same high school as Barnes, knew him as “just a quiet, reserved guy.”
Crawley told the The Times that Barnes may have gone to Philadelphia last week after he was suspected of the attack in Virginia. A DNA test led them to search Barnes’ residence, but he had already gone.
The police are concerned that Barnes may be involved in more than just these two cases.
“We’re thinking that there may be multiple victims out there,” Ramsey said. “He did intimidate our victim and showed her photos of girls he claimed he did this to before, and we’re just hoping if there are other victims out there, they will come forward.”
Ramsey went on to say that Barnes didn’t know Freeland-Gaither and described him as “a vicious predator.”
Barnes was taken in by a group of federal agents and is being held on a warrant for attempted capital murder in Virginia, according to Hanko.
Public records indicate Barnes was arrested 12 or more times since 2001. Most of the arrests were in Virginia and ranged from driving infractions to weapons offenses and breaking and entering. He’ll face federal charges for kidnapping Freeland-Gaither after he’s extradited to Pennsylvania.