A Minnesota teen who was kidnapped for almost a month swam across a lake Tuesday to escape her abductors, officials said.
The teenager, from Alexandria, Minn., made it safely across the lake before running onto a property where she received help, CBS Minnesota reported.
Authorities said the young girl was kidnapped on Aug. 8 by Thomas Barker, 32, who urged the teen to get into his car and drove her to a residence in Carlos. Barker, his roommate and another friend physically and sexually assaulted the teenager, officials said.
“Barker tied her up with zip ties and then he, his roommate and friend over the next several weeks assaulted her and threatened her with weapons,” Alexandria Police Chief Rick Wyffels said.
Police arrested Barker, Steven Powers, 20, and Joshua Holby, 31, in connection with the kidnapping, the New York Post reported.
The victim was able to make her escape after the kidnappers left her alone Tuesday, officials said. The teen reportedly knocked on the doors of a few homes but she did not receive any answers. She then jumped into the Thompson Lake and swam across.
When she got across the lake, she ran onto a farmer’s property. The farmer identified her and took her to safety.
“When she come walking out of the grass I’m thinking, 'oh my gosh, you got to be kidding me,'” the farmer, who did not wish to be identified, told CBS Minnesota. “When I saw her face I knew right away.”
He added: “It was just a great feeling, [I told her] ‘just get in the pickup, we’re going to help you now.'”
The 15-year-old was transported to the hospital for minor injuries she sustained.
“This is an unbelievable young woman,” Wyffels said. “She has a lot of strength. We think a lot of her and her family. They’re all amazing people.”
The three men were booked and all face assault, kidnapping and false imprisonment charges.