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Florida Running Back Carjacked

August 27, 1999

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Florida running back Vannez Gooch was carjacked at gunpoint early Thursday morning and taken to a secluded road in Putnam County, where he was released unharmed, according to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

Gooch, 22, was abducted outside his Gainesville apartment about 2 a.m. and left stranded in Putnam County as two men fled in his car.

Gooch began walking in search of assistance when Putnam County sheriffs discovered him, according to sheriff’s reports. Several hours later, the car was found abandoned in East Palatka, about 35 east of Gainesville.

Gooch, a 5-foot-8 junior who transferred from Florida State in 1998, was not at Thursday’s practice.

``I have not talked to him. I heard the story and fortunately he’s OK,″ Gators coach Steve Spurrier said.

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