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How to Escape a Kidnapper as an Adult

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Published on Dec 1, 2009

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Letting an abductor take you to a second location reduces your odds of getting out alive. Follow these steps to thwart them early.

Warning
Fighting back against an assailant is risky and could lead to injury.

Step 1: Make a fuss
Make a lot of noise. At the initial point of contact, your abductor's biggest fear is having attention called to them. Raise enough of a ruckus and they may end up running away from you.

Tip
Yelling "FIRE" is more effective at getting attention than yelling "HELP."

Step 2: Fight back
Fight back however you can – kick, bite, claw, or punch. Research shows you have a better chance of escaping a weaponless attacker by resisting. It may even be worth the risk if they're brandishing a gun or knife, in order to prevent them taking you to a second location.

Tip
If they grab your arm, wave it up and behind you in a rapid windmill motion, which can break their grip.

Step 3: Escape a moving car
If the abductor gets you into a vehicle, try to jump out in a populated area where you can quickly get help. If you're locked in a trunk, feel around for a latch to release the lock, or find the wire connected to the taillights and yank it hard enough to cause them to go out, which may attract a police officer.

Step 4: Crash the car
If you're in the car and can't open a door to jump out, crash the car by yanking the steering wheel, or try to throw it into another gear. If your captor stops the car for any reason, jam something into the ignition so the car won't restart.

Step 5: Leave clues
Leave clues in the car, and wherever you're taken along the way – a piece of jewelry, a clump of your hair, a distinctive button. They could help police pinpoint your location.

Step 6: Observe your surroundings
If they bring you to another location, keep your eyes open for possible escape routes. Flip the lights on and off repeatedly if you can; cops may recognize that as a distress signal. Observe your captor's routine so you can gauge a good time to try to break free.

Tip
Ask to use the bathroom, and then jam a toilet with something. An overflowing toilet might provide the distraction you need to escape, or get someone else's attention.

Step 7: Call 911
If you manage to dial 911, leave the phone connected, and then get away from it. If you don't stay with the phone, the kidnapper might not notice it's been dialed, and this could buy enough time for the police to trace your location.

Step 8: Leave evidence
Try to claw your attacker so that, if the worst happens, their DNA will be under your fingernails.

Did You Know?
The majority of adult abductions are women who are taken by men they know, whether it's a partner, an ex, or an acquaintance.

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