A missing 15-year-old girl was able to escape her three kidnappers after being held and assaulted for nearly a month.
On Aug 8., Jasmine Block left her family home in Alexandria, Minnesota, to help her acquaintance, 32-year-old Thomas Barker. But, when she arrived at Baker's house, she was restrained with zip ties and sexually assaulted, Tribune Media Wire reports.
Barker, his roommate, and his friend moved Jasmine first to a cornfield and then to a 150-acre property next to a lake in Grant County. For 28 days, Jasmine was left alone and repeatedly beat and sexually assaulted.
On the 29th day, Jasmine took her chances and decided to escape while her captors left her alone to get lunch. She ran to the door, and swam across the lake to another nearby property where she encountered the homeowner, who had just returned from work because he had forgotten something.
The homeowner told WCCO that he was just about to enter his truck when he saw something unusual in the back of his property. At first, he thought it was a wild deer, but, upon closer inspection, realized it was the missing teenage girl he had seen on the news.
"It was just a great feeling," he said. "[I told her] ‘just get in the pickup, we’re going to help you now.'"
The man, who asked to remain unnamed, called 911. He was going to drive her to the police station, but the dispatcher told him to stay where he was.
Just when the deputies arrived, Jasmine saw one of her captors returning in his vehicle.
"I was getting her out of the pickup to put her in the deputy’s car and she says, 'There’s the car, there’s the car,'" the man recounted.
One of the deputies chased the man down and arrested him.
"It was like somebody shined a big beam of light on me yesterday for some reason and, I don’t know, I was kind of on a high all day long yesterday," said the homeowner.
All three suspects are in custody on charges of false imprisonment, kidnapping, and assault, according to The Tribune Media Wire, reports WPIX. The other two suspects have been identified as Joshua Holby, 31, and Steven Powers, 20. The motive for the kidnapping has yet to be established.
"I just want to say thank you for helping for never giving up!" Jasmine's mother, Sarah, wrote on Facebook after her daughter's return, according to NBC News. "I also ask to respect Jasmine myself and her sisters as we have been apart 4 weeks and it’s been a lot so give space."
Her mother had created a Facebook group dedicated to bringing her daughter home. The 15-year-old was also featured on Dateline's "Missing in America" series shortly after her disappearance.