Documents detail woman's escape from kidnapper

Documents detail woman's escape from kidnapper »Play Video
Kelly Vern Swoboda in a booking photo from November 2013.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Newly released police documents paint a picture of what happened the night Kelly Swoboda kidnapped a woman from a Milwaukie tanning salon back in January.

Portland Police shot and killed Swoboda last month after a standoff near Wilson High School.

The young woman he abducted on January 27, 2014 saved her own life, by doing something many of us might not have the courage to do. KATU News has obtained hundreds of pages of police reports that lay out a story of survival.

Police initially told us a young woman was kidnapped from Palm Beach Tan on Highway 99 in Milwaukie. She was nearing the end of her shift when Swoboda came in. She thought he wanted money. Instead, he kidnapped her. She got away by jumping out of his moving van on Southeast Oatfield Hill Road.

Now we know taking that risk was the only thing she could do to save her own life. The woman told investigators in an interview weeks after the kidnapping that Swoboda hit her over the head twice inside the tanning salon. Then he bound her with duct tape and forced her into the back of his minivan.

A transcript  shows the woman told detectives, "I kept asking him what he wanted...he just kept telling me to shut up...as soon as he pulled me out of the salon I screamed for help in case there was anyone around...he pulled me into his van, and he duct taped my wrists and legs."

She told police she rode in the back of his minivan for about 10 minutes.

"I continued to ask him what he wanted, where he was taking me. And then he reminded me that he had the gun. And then I realized that the duct tape on my wrists wasn't that tight, so I was able to free my wrists...I started undoing the duct tape on my feet...I realized that, something clicked in me...I was like, ‘Oh, I can jump out of the van and get away from him’."

That entire time, she said Swoboda could hear her trying to undo the tape; he told her to stop trying to break free. But, he never stopped the van.

She never stopped trying to save herself.  She told police doesn't remember jumping out of the van. The next thing she remembers, she said, was being loaded into the ambulance.  The immediate terror had come to an end. The trauma was just setting in.

KATU spoke with the woman’s parents on Monday afternoon. They said their daughter’s physical wounds from getting hit and jumping out of the van are healing. She may eventually have to have some plastic surgery to eliminate scarring.  She's also working on healing the psychological scars, and determined to make a full recovery.