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Kidnapped Woman Escapes From Trunk

January 8, 1999

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A woman allegedly kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend and thrown into the trunk of her car was freed five hours and 173 miles later after motorists spotted her finger wiggling through a broken taillight.

Sheriff’s deputies stopped the car on Interstate 40 on Thursday and heard the screams of Amy Maxwell, 19, of Huntsville, Ala. She had gone through the ordeal wearing only a T-shirt and underwear.

``This gal was obviously a fighter,″ Sheriff Tim Hutchison said Friday.

Deputies arrested the driver, David Michael Tate, 21, who has been fighting with Ms. Maxwell over custody of their 2-year-old son.

FBI spokesman Scott Nowinksi said federal kidnapping charges would be filed against Tate.

Police said Tate sneaked into Ms. Maxwell’s house Thursday morning after her boyfriend had left. He allegedly put a pillow over her face until she faked unconsciousness, then bound her with tape and placed her in the trunk.

Ms. Maxwell told deputies that she loosened the tape over her mouth and began screaming when he stopped for gas. When Tate turned up the radio to cover her screams, she unplugged the speakers, forcing him to drive off without finishing the refueling, Hutchison said.

Eventually, Ms. Maxwell freed her hands, broke out a taillight and began pushing papers, sticks and a finger through the hole. Dale and Teri Schroeder of Wauseon, Ohio, saw her finger and called police.

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