SEDALIA, MO (KCTV) - A 57-year-old Sedalia, Missouri woman jumped from a moving car, burst into a Kansas convenience store and begged for help two days after she said she was kidnapped from her home, authorities say.
Joseph Rankin, 27, and Paula Hopkins, 45, both of Sedalia, appeared before a Pettis County judge on Monday on charges of felonious restraint and armed criminal action. Both are being held in the Pettis County Jail on $500,000 bond.
The victim, who KCTV5 is not identifying at this time, told authorities that she was kidnapped from her home on Halloween after the two suspects threatened to cut her dog’s legs off. She said she was taken to Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, and held against her will for two days in hotels before she made a mad dash to freedom at the store.
Surveillance video obtained by police from the store shows the victim attempting to escape Hopkins as she tried to drag the Sedalia woman outside.
Both suspects denied forcing the victim to go with them. They said she wanted to spend “the weekend in a drug-induced stupor,” according to court documents.
Police found a drug pipe inside the suspects’ vehicle.
The Sedalia woman told police that after she was kidnapped Rankin and Hopkins repeatedly made her write checks and used her debit card to withdraw money. Attempts to withdraw money occurred at the Isle of Capri Casino. She said she was forced to spend two nights in motel bathrooms with the doors barricaded.
Just before 10 a.m. Sunday, the three were at a convenience store at 6021 State Ave. in Kansas City, Kansas. Rankin went into the store while Hopkins remained in the car with the woman. Rankin used the woman’s debit card at the convenience store.
“She stated when Joseph got back into the car, he started to pull out of the parking lot. She stated she decided it was now or never and she opened the back door of the car and jumped out as the car was moving,” according to court documents. “She stated she hit the pavement then got up and ran into the store to the bathroom. She stated Paula came in after her and was calling her ‘mom’ and tried to drag her from the store.”
The woman said she fought while screaming for customers and employees to call 911. Hopkins tried to drag the woman out of the store, but she managed to get away, according to court documents. The two suspects fled the scene and headed to Roeland Park’s Walmart where they used the woman’s debit card to buy a nearly $420 television.
Initially Rankin denied being at the Walmart and said Hopkins and his brother purchased the TV. When confronted by the surveillance video, he said the woman owed him money and gave him permission to use her debit card.
Officers asked Hopkins to explain the surveillance video from the convenience store.
“Paula stated she told (the victim) that she wanted to take her to rehab and get her help. She stated (the victim) did not want to go and that is why she bailed out of the car and ran from her,” according to court documents. “Joseph stated basically the same thing. I asked them both why they left her there and Paula stated it was because she was tired of dealing with (the woman) all weekend. She stated she was very worried about her but decided it would be best to leave. Joseph stated it was because another patron told him it looked to him like Joseph was being set up - a white woman screaming she had been kidnapped would be believed over a black man.”
The victim’s glasses minus one lens were found in the vehicle and pieces of a torn check were on the floor. The two suspects continued to cash checks from the victim until they were arrested.
According to court records, authorities said the suspects are homeless and unemployed, and both have criminal histories.
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