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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2007
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Woman says she was forced to taxi kidnapper

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

A Phil Campbell woman told police she was kidnapped in Decatur and forced to drive her captor to Russellville, Decatur police said Tuesday.

Autumn Miller, 24, told police she was abducted from the parking lot of the Holiday Inn on Wilson Street Northeast late Sunday. Miller told police an unknown black male approached and grabbed her around the neck. She felt a sharp object poke her side but never saw the weapon.

According to Miller's statements, "He told her to do what he told her and she wouldn't get hurt," said Sgt. Steve Campbell, a police spokesman.

The kidnapper originally demanded Miller drive him to Florence, but she told him she didn't have enough gas.

"He gave her directions to Russellville by back roads that she was unfamiliar with. They went to an apartment house that she was unfamiliar with," Campbell said.

When the suspect got out of the car, Miller sped off and went to the Russellville police station, Campbell said.

She told police that after the man got out of the car she realized he had rifled through her purse and taken about $160 cash.

Russellville police notified Decatur police of the incident early Monday.

Miller described the robber as 6 feet tall, weighing 130 pounds and wearing dark-blue shorts and a cream-colored shirt, with short hair and a goatee.

In conversation during the ride to Russellville, the kidnapper hinted he was from Tennessee, Campbell said.

"This is an ongoing investigation," Campbell said. "We would ask anyone, if they have any information, to contact our tip line or our Robbery/Homicide Unit."

The confidential tip line can be reached at 341-INFO (4636). Sgt. Rick Archer, who is investigating the case, can be reached at 341-4647.

Police have found at least one inconsistency in Miller's story.

Archer said Miller initially reported that she was abducted from the Shell station on Sixth Avenue Northeast, near the Holiday Inn, while stopping for gas, but she later told police the abduction took place in the hotel parking lot.

"Right now we're sorting through the details and trying to determine exactly what occurred," Archer said.

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