LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - A Winston County woman is at home recovering after a terrifying ordeal that is now under investigation by state authorities.
The woman went missing last weekend from Double Springs and several days later, she turned up about 80 miles away in Limestone County after being abducted. The woman was able to escape her captors and get help from neighbors.
Double Springs Police Chief Kim Miller says the woman was reported missing by her daughter.
The women were supposed to meet up in Hamilton on Saturday night, but the victim was having car trouble, so they made other arrangements to link up with each other.
The daughter spotted her mother’s car on the side of the road on Highway 278, and continued on to her house, but her mother wasn’t there. She wasn’t answering her phone, so her daughter went back to the vehicle and found her cell phone in a cup holder and saw that her purse had been dumped out.
The victim’s daughter and boyfriend brought her car back to her house and reported her missing to the Double Springs Police Department on Tuesday afternoon. Police started investigating and conducting interviews.
Then, on Wednesday night, officials say the woman sought the help of a resident on Shipley Hollow Road in Elkmont. She still had tape around her feet. Police say she was on foot and had a black eye.
The Limestone County Sheriff’s Office was notified, and the victim was taken to a local hospital.
On Friday, Miller said that she was back at home in Double Springs and cooperating with authorities in their ongoing investigation.
“I spoke to her for some time. She seems to be doing alright,” Miller stated.
Further details on what happened to the woman and how she ended up in Limestone County are not being released at this time.
The State Bureau of Investigation is now assisting on the case because it involves multiple counties.
“She approached a resident in Limestone County requesting assistance. Aid was provided,” said Cpt. Jonathan Winters with the SBI. “This is an active investigation and we are piecing together the events of what led to her being in that area.”
Miller says there is a vague description of a vehicle possibly involved in the abduction, but that information has not yet been made public.
Lynn Hobbs says the woman came to her home on Shipley Hollow Road between 9:30-10 on Wednesday night. The victim rang the doorbell and Lynn noticed that she had swollen eyes and tape on her ankles. She did not know where she was.
“I got up and went to the door and opened it and there was a lady standing there. She looked pretty bad. She was in bad shape. She told me her name and begged me to call police,” Lynn explained.
Lynn got her husband to call police. She got the woman to sit down on the porch and gave her water and a cool washcloth. Then they started talking to her about what happened to her.
“I asked her how long she’d been missing, and she said since Saturday. I asked her if she knew who got her and she said she didn’t,” Lynn said. "She told me the clothes she had on were not hers. The sleeves on the shirt had been cut off. "
Lynn stayed with the victim until law enforcement arrived.
“She was emotional but all in all, she was more calm than I would have expected anyone to be in that kind of shape,” Lynn stated.
The woman told her that in Double Springs, she had a flat tire. She had it fixed, but she started down the road and thought it was going flat again. So she pulled over and got out.
“These men pulled up and asked her if she needed help and she told them no, that she lived right up the road and was headed home. Then they asked her if she wanted to go with them and she said no. And I guess that’s when they got her,” Lynn said.
The woman didn’t know where she had been between Saturday night and Wednesday night, but at one point she thought she was in a basement. On Wednesday, she told Lynn that she was in the car and that whoever had kidnapped her was doing a lot of driving, but she was blindfolded and tied up so she was unaware of her surroundings.
“She said they had let her out at the cornfield to use the bathroom and I guess they cut her hands and feet loose. I guess that’s when she ran. She ran and hid in the cornfield and ended up at our house,” Lynn added.
The woman thought two men had abducted her. She didn’t know if they were chasing her and she asked Lynn Hobbs to turn the porch light out so they couldn’t see her or track her down.
“Anybody who was in the shape that lady was needs help. I understand that today, you don’t always feel safe taking strangers in, but you could tell by her appearance and the way she was acting that she was telling the truth. She could tell me right off her name, that she was 50 something, that she worked in Cullman, that she was a nurse. Her eyes looked real swollen. I don’t know what the lady had been through but she had been through a lot,” Lynn said.
Lynn did not ask the woman what her captors did to her in the days she was missing because she thought it was a matter for law enforcement and she didn’t want to upset the woman any further. Law enforcement let the woman call her daughter when they arrived at the Hobbs’ house.
“I hope they catch them and I hope they’re punished for it,” Lynn said about the suspects. “It was like she was tortured and no lady, or person at all deserves that kind of treatment. God was with her. If not, she wouldn’t be here.”
Stephen Young, Public Information Officer for the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office says the woman was abducted Saturday at gunpoint in Double Springs off HWY 278 by two white men- one late 30s or early 40s with athletic build. She couldn’t provide a description of the other suspect.
A sexual assault was reported, but the woman was not sure when or where it happened.
They were driving through Limestone County Wednesday night with her blindfolded, most likely on I-65.
The suspects let her out off the Ardmore exit to use bathroom and cut her tape (she had been taped up), and that’s when escaped and hid in cornfield at Shipley Hollow Road until they left, Young said.
Investigators responded to the area and took her to hospital. She had bruises on her face and arms.
A rape kit was done and she returned home to Double Springs.
Young also stated that the investigation has been taken over by SBI with multiple agencies (including LCSO) assisting.
The victim posted to Facebook saying: “I’m going to be fine with God’s help and my family’s help.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: The identify of the victim has been removed from the story due to the nature of the reported crimes.