Kidnapped U.S. teen risks drowning to flee abductors

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In a show of extraordinary strength and resilience, a Minnesota teen fled her month-long captivity on Tuesday by swimming across a lake. The act of courage may have saved her life.

According to CBS Minnesota, the teen hails from Alexandria, Minn., and ran onto a property where she was able to find help after swimming safely across Thompson Lake on Tuesday.

The young girl is reported to have been kidnapped on Aug. 8 by Thomas Barker, 32 who drove her to his home in Carlos, Minn. after she was persuaded to get into his car. She was then physically and sexually assaulted by Barker, his roommate, and another friend, according to officials.

According to The New York Post, Barker, Steven Powers, 20 and Joshua Holby, 31, have been arrested in connection with the kidnapping.

Alexandria Police Chief Rick Wyffels said, “Barker tied her up with zip ties and then he, his roommate, and [a] friend, over the next several weeks, assaulted her and threatened her with weapons.”

Making the escape after being left alone Tuesday, the victim reportedly knocked on the doors of a few homes, but she did not receive any answers. She then jumped into Thompson Lake and swam across. Once across the lake, she was identified by a farmer who took her to safety.

According to CBS Minnesota, the farmer did not want to be identified and is reported as saying, “When she come walking out of the grass, I’m thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, you got to be kidding me. When I saw her face, I knew right away. It was just a great feeling. [I told her,] ‘Just get in the pickup. We’re going to help you now.’”

It is being reported the 15-year-old sustained minor injuries and was examined at a local hospital.

“This is an unbelievable young woman. She has a lot of strength. We think a lot of her and her family. They’re all amazing people,” Wyffels is reported saying.

The three men have been booked and all face assault, kidnapping, and false imprisonment charges.

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