Man attempts to kidnap woman

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 30, 2002

An Albert Lea woman was the victim of an apparent assault and kidnapping attempt early today.

The woman's ordeal began after a visit to Austin Medical Center and an Austin restaurant.

According to a Mower County Sheriff's Department report, 51-year-old woman was driving along Interstate 90 near the Oakland Rest Stop, when a man suddenly grabbed her by the neck from the backseat of her car and started shaking her.

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The woman struggled with the man as her car rolled along the freeway. She also flashed her headlights to alert a daughter and son-on-law traveling ahead of her in another vehicle.

The couple stopped their car when they saw the flashing headlights and backed along the freeway to where the woman's car had come to a halt.

The woman told investigators, her attacker left the automobile and ran off into the night.

Austin Police Officer Steve Wald and his canine unit, Maddie, were called to the scene near 3:21 a.m. today. The dog tracked the suspect for more than three miles along the freeway and into nearby farm fields before losing the scent.

The woman described her attacker as a male wearing a long-sleeved dark shirt and having brown skin, according to the report.

She did not say the suspect spoke during their struggle in the moving vehicle.

The woman was unharmed and did not require medical treatment.

Shortly after the incident, Austin police were called to the area long Freeborn County 46 near the Steer Restaurant.

They discovered a man loading a child's toy and bicycle into a truck and took him into custody.

They determined the man was not the suspect wanted in connection with the kidnapping attempt.

Officers were on high alert early today after the Freeborn County Sheriff's Department and Albert Lea Police Department authorities asked their assistance in investigating the apparent kidnapping in Albert Lea earlier Monday.

No details on that attempt were available at press time.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at