A Groton Township man was arrested Friday after allegedly kidnapping a woman at gunpoint in Lorain and then taking her back to his Strecker Road property, where he raped her and bound and gagged her, authorities said.
The victim, a 31-year-old Vermilion woman, managed to escape from a small camper where she was being held captive. Her hands and feet were bound with zip ties and her mouth gagged with white tape, but the woman was still able to crawl about 20 feet to the road, where a passing motorist spotted her sitting naked near a ditch.
"I don't know how she got out of there, I have no clue," said Bellevue resident Tami Pasenow, 37, the motorist who found her. "Her skin was all blue like she'd been there a while. Her hands and feet were bound with zip ties, and she was gagged.
"I was just freaking out, honestly," Pasenow said. "It was crazy."
Arrested and charged: Brian M. Jury, 38, of 10701 Strecker Road in Groton Township. He remains in the Lorain City Jail on weapons-related charges, but Erie County deputies now have a warrant for his arrest on charges of rape, a first-degree felony, and felony kidnapping.
Jury has no apparent criminal record.
Sometime between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Friday, the woman was walking in Lorain, on her way home from the store. She told Erie County deputies she had met Jury once before, so she recognized him when he pulled his truck alongside her and asked if she wanted a ride, Erie County Chief Deputy Jared Oliver said.
When the woman got into the truck — a white GMC 2011 pickup, with "AirGas" emblazoned on the side — Jury pointed a handgun at her and used a zip tie to secure her hands, deputies said. He then allegedly drove to his Strecker Road property, where he has a large barn, a pole barn and a small Coachmen camper, as well as a handful of vehicles and a hodgepodge of scattered machinery and junk.
Deputies said Jury had a handgun and a large knife with him in the camper where he allegedly raped the woman.
At about 2 p.m., Jury left in his pickup, deputies said, and the woman somehow managed to bust open the door and crawl to the road. Pasenow said she was driving home from the grocery store when she saw the naked woman sitting, bound and gagged, on the side of the road. The woman was facing away from the road, but trying to get the attention of any passersby on the rural two-lane road, Pasenow said.
The woman was not crying and had no visible wounds, although she looked like she was "in shock" and she at some point made a statement to the effect of "there must be bodies out there," Pasenow said.
As Pasenow started to help the woman, off-duty Erie County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Hammersmith came upon the scene by chance. Hammersmith stopped and quickly removed the tape from the woman's mouth and unbound her, Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said. Later at the scene, Hammersmith declined to comment.
The woman was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center to undergo a sexual assault examination, Sigsworth said. When detectives interviewed her, she identified Jury as her attacker.
At about 3:30 p.m., deputies sent out an alert to area law enforcement agencies, with emphasis on those in Lorain County, as Jury has rental properties in Lorain and Elyria. They also figured out he was in the Carlisle Township area. He works for AirGas and he was driving a company truck.
At about 6 p.m., police found his pickup parked at a home in Lorain. They then learned Jury fled the scene on a motorcycle, Oliver said.
Shortly thereafter, Lorain police stopped him on West Erie Avenue. He had two handguns on him — a Glock and a .22-caliber, Oliver said. Police took him to the Lorain City Jail, where late Friday jail guards said he was being entirely uncooperative.
The woman has since been released from the hospital, Oliver said. Deputies obtained a warrant to search the Strecker Road property, where they recovered a number of items to test for DNA evidence.
Neighbors said they rarely talked to Jury, and they don't know if he lived in the camper or in one of the barns on the 8-acre property. He was occasionally seen coming and going, stopping to feed some chickens near the barn and a dog tied to one of the vehicles.
Deputies said they inspected the barns and the property and found no immediate indication of other victims. They plan to continue investigating in the days ahead.
Pasenow said she thought twice about stopping, fearing someone was still in the area.
"I can't believe I stopped," she said. "You wouldn't think out here in the country of something like this."