Carlesha Freeland-Gaither was 22 years old when she was abducted off the street in Philadelphia just before 10 p.m. in November 2014
In 2014, Carlesha Freeland-Gaither was walking home from a family gathering when she was violently abducted on the streets of Philadelphia — an attack which was caught on a security camera. Now a new Lifetime movie is shining light on her harrowing story.
At about 9:40 p.m. on the night of the attack, Freeland-Gaither, then a 22-year-old nursing aide, was in the Germantown neighborhood in Philadelphia when a man grabbed her and forced her into a vehicle, NBC Philadelphia reported.
She fought hard, but couldn't get away from her attacker. The terrifying abduction, in addition to being captured on security footage, was witnessed by a man who tried in vain to intervene. Abducted Off the Street: The Carlesha Gaither Story, based on her story, premieres this Saturday on Lifetime.
According to the NBC Philadelphia, the witness, identified as Dwayne Fletcher, saw the suspect display a large knife when he tried to stop the attack. He also saw Freeland-Gaither smash out the rear window of the vehicle as it sped away in the night. Fletcher called 911 to report the violent attack and spoke to NBC Philadelphia about the ordeal at the time.
“I just felt like when she was gone, it just felt like I lost her,” he told the outlet in 2014. A search began, and the victim's mother, Keisha Gaither, spoke with news outlets in an attempt to help bring her daughter home safely.
Authorities tracked Freeland-Gaither's movements to Aberdeen, Md., according to NBC Philadelphia, after her ATM card was used there the day after her abduction. After using additional security footage and tracking devices, authorities caught up to the kidnapping suspect, Delvin Barnes, on Nov. 5.
Barnes was found in his vehicle in a parking lot in Jessup, Md., with Freeland-Gaither, who was alive, the outlet reported. According to the United States Attorney's Office, authorities learned that after Barnes abducted Freeland-Gaither, he bound her wrists and forced her into the trunk of his car before driving to Maryland.
During a news conference, Keisha announced the safe return of her daughter. "I’m taking my baby home,” she said, NBC Philadelphia reports. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”
Barnes pleaded guilty to kidnapping and was sentenced to 35 years in prison, the United States Attorney's Office announced in 2016.
Abducted Off the Street: The Carlesha Gaither Story features Kenya Moore as Keisha, a mother who will stop at nothing to get her daughter back. Riele Downs plays Freeland-Gaither in the film.
At the time of Freeland-Gaither's abduction, Barnes was wanted for an Oct. 1 alleged kidnapping of a 16-year-old girl in Virginia, WHYY and ABC News reported in 2014. In that case, he was charged with attempted capital murder, abduction, forcible rape and malicious wounding using a chemical agent, ABC News reports. The unidentified victim was found alive less than two days later.
Barnes admitted the abduction of Freeland-Gaither was at random and he did not know who she was at the time.
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