The day after his harrowing escape from armed kidnappers, a south Kansas City man was back home Friday, safe and thankful for all those who helped bring him home.
“Our prayers were answered,” the man’s wife said. “He’s home and he’s OK.”
She said her 67-year-old husband was not ready to comment about the incident that started with his abduction at gunpoint outside his home and ended with his escape from his abductors nearly eight hours later in suburban St. Louis.
But his wife said they wanted to let people know that they are grateful for the prayers and support they received since she reported him missing Thursday morning. She said they were particularly grateful to Kansas City police.
“The police were wonderful,” she said.
The man’s wife asked that their names not be used because of the ongoing investigation and the fact that the kidnappers were still at large.
“We’re very pleased that nothing worse happened to him,” she said.
The search for his abductors focused Friday in the area of Bardstown, Ky., about 600 miles from Kansas City, where the couple’s stolen van was abandoned after it crashed into a semitractor-trailer on a highway exit ramp.
The van suffered extensive damage. Officials with the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office in Bardstown said the driver, who fled the scene, had to have been injured.
Kansas City police, several Kentucky law enforcement agencies and the FBI offices in Kansas City and Louisville were hunting for the suspects.
The victim’s ordeal began about 5:30 a.m. Thursday outside his home in the 12200 block of Prospect Avenue as he prepared to leave for work.
Two armed men confronted and assaulted him, forcing him into his van, according to information he later gave police.
His wife was unaware anything was wrong until about 9 a.m. Thursday when she awoke and saw his work truck still parked in their driveway. His lunch pail and keys to the work vehicle were nearby. He was supposed to have left for work at 6 a.m.
The couple’s personal van was missing. After his wife determined that he had not arrived at work and that he wasn’t in or around their home, she called police.
The FBI said Friday that police found signs of a physical altercation in the driveway, and notified the FBI of the possibility of a kidnapping and carjacking.
Kansas City police, using dogs, searched the area around the couple’s home for several hours.
About 1 p.m. Thursday, St. Louis County police reported that the man had been located in Jennings, Mo.
He told police that he disarmed one suspect during a struggle and jumped out of the van. The kidnappers drove off. He went to find help and call 911.
He told St. Louis County police that in the hours he was held against his will, the men assaulted him and forced him to make withdrawals from several banks along the way.
The firearm police recovered after the man’s escape was being analyzed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
About 10:40 p.m. Thursday, the victim’s 1998 Chevrolet 1500 van collided with a semitractor-trailer on a highway exit ramp in Bardstown, Ky., according to the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office.
A witness said only one person was in the van at the time, and he walked away before police arrived.
When deputies discovered that the van had been stolen from Kansas City in a reported kidnapping, they sealed off the area but were unable to find the suspect.
About 90 minutes after the wreck, someone who lives about a quarter-mile away reported their car had been stolen. The sheriff’s office described it as a 2008 gray Mitsubishi Eclipse with a license plate number of 663-JKY. Several other cars in that area had been tampered with about the same time, officials said.
The suspects remained at large Friday. The FBI warned that they should be considered armed and dangerous.
One suspect was described as a black male in his late teens with a light complexion. He was about 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall.
The other suspect was described as a black male in his mid-20s, about 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall with a dark complexion and a stocky build.
Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477; the FBI in Kansas City at 816-512-8200; or the FBI in Louisville at 502-263-6000.
To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.