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Oklahoma couple safe in Maine after dropping ready-made kidnap note

June 24, 1997

AUBURN, Mass. (AP) _ A ready-made rescue note reading ``HELP KIDNAPPED″ fell from the purse of an Oklahoma woman anxious about traveling the country, triggering a 24-hour interstate police hunt that ended when she and her husband turned up safe in Maine.

``She’s totally embarrassed,″ said her daughter Renee Ives. ``She’s afraid she can never show her face again.″

Floyd Rupp, 67, a chiropractor, and his 57-year-old wife, Rita, were driving from their home in Tulsa, Okla., to attend a family wedding near New York City and sightsee in New England. They stopped Sunday night near the Massachusetts Turnpike in Auburn, about 40 miles west of Boston.

After checking out of their motel the next morning, they stopped at a store to buy a travel iron. After they left, an employee found the note folded neatly inside a $20 bill. It had apparently dropped from Mrs. Rupp’s purse in the bathroom.

``HELP KIDNAPPED CALL HIGHWAY PATROL,″ it said in Mrs. Rupp’s handwriting, followed by two Oklahoma telephone numbers. On the other side, Mrs. Rupp had written: ``MY FORD VAN CREAM & BLUE OKLA.″

Police put out an all-points bulletin for the Rupps. News outlets carried the story, with pictures and descriptions of the couple and their van.

The Rupps’ two daughters waited by their phones. No calls.

It turned out someone had seen the Rupps: A Massachusetts state trooper saw their van by the side of the road east of Auburn about 15 minutes after the note was found, but before it had been reported.

The couple, apparently alone and all right, were poring over a map and asked the trooper how to get to Cape Cod, Police Chief Ron Miller said.

A search of Cape Cod motels and camping areas turned up nothing.

Then, around lunchtime Tuesday on the East Coast, Rupp called his clinic in Sand Springs, Okla., to check on business.

``He said, `I’m sitting here enjoying the view of the ocean,‴ office manager Brenda Ward said. ``I said, `You have no idea what’s going on, do you?‴

Ives said her parents had called her from Bar Harbor, Maine, where they had spent the night. They checked out soon afterward.

Ives’ mother told her she had prepared the note because she was worried about the trip back from the wedding; her husband was taking a plane and she planned to drive home alone.

``She’s a 60-year-old woman and she was a little frightened traveling by herself,″ Ives said from her home in Lewisburg, Tenn. ``It just gave her a little security to go on traveling by herself.″

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