Abduction, sexual assault of Johnson County deputy described as ‘ambush’

Johnson County officials on Monday said the abduction and assault of an off-duty, female deputy sheriff Friday night was apparently not a targeted attack.

“It was like an ambush,” Sheriff Frank Denning said at an afternoon news conference. “It was so quick.”

Officials said the deputy was headed to work at the Johnson County sheriff’s office Central Booking Facility in Olathe at about 11:30 p.m. when she was was abducted from the parking lot by two men.

The deputy had stopped at a QuikTrip on Santa Fe Street near Interstate 35 before she headed to work and was followed from there by the men.

Capt. Brian Hill said that surveillance video shows the suspect vehicle pulling up to a gas pump, but they never got out to pump gas. When the deputy drove off, the suspect vehicle also pulled out, he said.

Hill said the abductors may have not have targeted the deputy specifically, but it appeared they were looking for a victim.

Authorities on Sunday released a video of the vehicle believed to have been used in the kidnapping and sexual assault. The vehicle is believed to be a 2015 or 2016 Mazda 3 four-door sedan with deep crystal blue paint.

The deputy is in her 20s and has only been with the sheriff’s office for six months. When she did not report for work, the shift supervisor attempted to reach her by phone.

The deputy’s abductors released her about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, dropping her off near Interstate 470 and Northeast Woods Chapel Road in Lee’s Summit. The deputy found her way to the nearby Jackson County sheriff’s headquarters at 4001 N.E. Lakewood Court in Lee’s Summit.

Officials on Monday said the abductors never stopped while the deputy was in the car, and she believes that they spent much of the time driving on gravel roads.

During the ordeal, authorities said, the abductors covered the deputy’s face with her own sweatshirt, but she was able to get a look at one of them when he grabbed her. Officials hope to release a composite sketch by Tuesday. The abductors are believed to be in their teens to mid-20s.

The deputy was carrying a pink Nike duffel bag when she was taken, and Hill said Monday that it was likely still in the suspect car when the deputy was released. It contained several items, including a black Johnson County Sheriff’s Office windbreaker.

Hill said if anyone finds such a bag, they should call police.

Authorities on Monday said they recovered DNA samples from two males that will be checked against a national database. The FBI is also now assisting in the case.

Investigators are also working with other area law enforcement agencies to see if there have been similar attacks that could be connected.

There is a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the abductors. The sheriff’s office asked anyone who has seen the car to get the license plate number and call 911, Johnson County sheriff’s dispatchers at 913-782-0720 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

“These are dangerous men,” Hill said. “We need to get them off the street.”

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Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

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