Central Ohio woman tails kidnapping suspect to help save mom, child

The woman tried to block the suspect's car in the parking lot, then followed him until Reynoldsburg police arrived

Reynoldsburg kidnapping
Courtesy: WCMH

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (WCMH) — A woman and boy were kidnapped, driven hundreds of miles, and ended up in Central Ohio. That is where police were able to rescue them, thanks to the quick actions of a good Samaritan.

Reynoldsburg Police Lt. Bill Early said Michael McKinney kidnapped the two, driving them from North Carolina through Cleveland, then to western Columbus and ending up in Reynoldsburg, where the victim and the good Samaritan — Tia Withers — were both able to call 911.

Withers told NBC4 News in Columbus that she and her children were sitting in her truck at the Walmart on Taylor Road in Reynoldsburg, when she said the female victim whispered to her, “Help me, we have been kidnapped.”

Lt. Early said McKinney tried to force them to get money from Western Union. Police said there isn’t one at that location.

Michael McKinney, Reynoldsburg
Michael McKinney (Courtesy: WCMH)

Withers said she overheard the man tell the two victims if they did not get back in the car, he was going to kill them.

The victim was able to dial 911 but wasn’t able to talk.

The 911 dispatcher reported to police, “We have an open 911 call going on, we couldn’t get any information. In the Taylor Square Shopping Center, a guy keeps talking about a Western Union.”

Withers also called 911.

“Two people have been kidnapped. They are sitting there in a car, I am blocking them off,” Withers said.She said McKinney acted like he was going to ram her, so she moved her vehicle.

She said McKinney acted like he was going to ram her, so she moved her vehicle. Withers told police he sped off.

“Oh my god, oh my god,” she could be heard crying into the phone.

Withers said she stayed on his tail, giving police turn-by-turn directions of his escape attempt.

“He kidnapped this woman and boy. I’m trying to follow him and he is by Walgreens now,” she said.

Police units swarmed the area.

“Please, somebody help,” Withers pleaded to the dispatcher.

“We are getting them, we are trying to get them.”

Withers said she followed McKinney’s vehicle down Taylor Road and up State Route 256, where police were able to corner the vehicle in front of a Tim Horton’s.

“Oh my god, he got out of the car and he just threw something in the grass,” Withers said.

Police said it was drugs — suspected to be methamphetamine, though they are still being tested.

Although the investigation is ongoing, Lt. Early said McKinney may have been armed with a knife.

“He just threw something in a bush. Oh, I am so thankful for you guys. Oh, thank you guys!” Withers could be heard telling police and the dispatcher.

Both victims were rescued unharmed.

McKinney is currently being held in jail, charged with kidnapping, extortion, and drug possession.


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