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Kidnapping suspect receives charges

Witnesses reported seeing victim forced into vehicle

A man suspected of kidnapping a woman from the YMCA made his first appearance on Wednesday in Mower County District Court.

Keshaun Austin Baker, 19, of Bettendorf, Iowa, has been charged with felony kidnapping – to commit great bodily harm or terrorize, felony stalking, felony harassment – aggravated violations – possess dangerous weapon, felony terroristic threats and misdemeanor domestic assault.

Keshaun Baker, 19

According to the court complaint, witnesses reported that a male, later determined to be Baker, had forced a woman into a vehicle at about 2:33 p.m. on Monday at the YMCA. One witness described the suspect as wearing a red sweater and the victim as wearing a black sweatshirt and carrying a black backpack. An officer located the suspect vehicle, a 2015 Hyundai Sonata with Iowa license plate IIC393, along with Baker and the victim at East Side Lake.

The victim told police she knew Baker and that he had threatened to kill her. She said she was granted a restraining order against him, but it had not yet been served, and that he had assaulted her previously.

She reported that she was going into the bathroom at the YMCA when Baker pushed her into the bathroom, knocked her to the floor, then pulled her outside to his vehicle. She said Baker beat her in the car and that he said he had a knife and threatened to kill her in the car.

Police searched the vehicle and found a knife in the center console.

A witness told police she saw Baker and the victim walking in the YMCA parking lot and that Baker was “very rough” with her as they got into the car. She indicated the victim did not appear to want to get into the car, but was forced. She followed Baker’s car and said she saw Baker grab the victim’s head and shove it down forcefully. She took a picture of Baker’s car, then honked her horn at him, at which point he sped up and she lost him as he drove past Queen of Angels and toward the recycling center.

Another witness told police she saw Baker and the victim walking “really close together” and that something “seemed off.” She also said she looked out the window and saw Baker pushing the victim out the door.

Police accessed the YMCA surveillance footage, which showed Baker park his vehicle in the YMCA parking lot at 2:22 p.m. He then exited the vehicle one minute later and was seen following the victim, who did not see him. Footage then showed the victim approaching the bathroom area and Baker running to catch up to her. Baker and the victim were then seen walking close together at about 2:30 p.m. and it appeared Baker pushed her out the door. They are then seen walking across the parking lot and Baker appeared to force the victim into the car, leaving the parking lot at 2:33 p.m.

Baker will appear in court again on March 23.