Friday, December 2, 2022

Woman escapes alleged kidnapper by stopping at Ionia County gas stationFree Access

IONIA  — At 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Ionia County Central Dispatch received a 911 call from a woman reporting her neighbor sent her a text reading, “HELP.”

Kurt Franklyn

The woman was aware that her neighbor was allegedly going through some domestic issues with her ex-boyfriend, Kurt Gene Franklyn, 52, of Roseville, according to the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office. The neighbor maintained communication with the victim through text messages and location information on her phone, and informed Central Dispatch that Franklyn and her neighbor were not next door and may be in a white vehicle near the 3000 block of S. State Road in Orange Township.

According to police, the victim was driving, while Franklyn sat in the passenger seat. The victim pulled into a local gas station on the pretense that she needed air in her tire, but after she got out of the car, she ran into the gas station screaming for help, that she’d been kidnapped and raped. The service station called 911 and sheriff’s deputies responded immediately and took Franklyn into custody. He allegedly had binoculars, knives and restraints on his person, as well as a can of pepper spray.

Sheriff’s detectives later learned that Franklyn had allegedly rented a van and driven it to an area near where the victim resides and watched her leave to drop her children off at school. After she left, Franklyn allegedly entered her house, switched off the main power breaker and waited for her to return. When the victim returned home after dropping her children off, she went to investigate why the electricity was off. She said she was then attacked by Franklyn.

According to police, over the next couple hours, the victim was able to keep Franklyn calm as she formulated an escape plan, and was later able to convince him to go with her to retrieve property from his personal vehicle, which was parked south of Ionia. It was after this time that she was able to escape.

Franklyn was arraigned Tuesday and charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct (a possible life sentence felony), first-degree home invasion (a possible 20-year felony), unlawful imprisonment (a possible 15-year felony) and domestic assault (a 93-day misdemeanor).

He is being held at the Ionia County Jail with no bond.

The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office will continue to investigate this incident. Anyone who has had similar contact or important information on Franklyn is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Detective Bureau at (616) 527-5737, Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345 or silentobserver.org online.

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