A 15-year-old girl in Minnesota who was held captive for 29 days recalled her dramatic escape in a TV interview.
The girl fled from a home in rural part of the state on Tuesday when her abductors left her alone for the first time in nearly a month to get pizza. She knocked on nearby doors, then swam across part of a lake and flagged down a farmer for help.
"I opened the door and told him to call 911," she told Fox 9. "... He asked if I was the missing girl from Alex and I said 'yes.'"
The Daily News is not identifying the teen because she is a victim of sexual assault.
She had initially been held in a trailer, but her abductors put her into a duffel bag, loaded her into a truck and moved her to an abandoned home after police came calling, according to authorities.
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Thomas Barker, 32, Steven Powers, 20, and 31-year-old Joshua Holby were all charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment. Barker and Powers were also charged with criminal sexual conduct.
"I was usually in a closet and I usually stayed quiet because I was scared they might hit me or do something," she told Fox 9.
Powers arrived at the home about two weeks into her abduction and was told not to go into Barker's room when Barker and Holby left the residence, according to the criminal complaint. Powers became curious, went into the bedroom and found the girl in the locked closet.
"Powers did not free (her), nor did he contact law enforcement," according to the complaint.
The teen believed she was helping a friend's father when she was lured from her home. Barker tricked her into thinking he needed her to talk to his son, who was misbehaving, according to the criminal complaint. Barker was her friend's dad, so she agreed to help, and left her phone behind.
She told police that Barker, who has cerebral palsy and is physically-impaired, put her in a bathtub while she was restrained with zip ties "and she believes that he tried to drown her." Prosecutors say she was repeatedly raped.
Barker told police that he had used meth and alcohol, but denied knowing the girl or picking her up.
In the interview with Fox 9, the teen victim spoke of what life has been like after the month-long ordeal.
"Sometimes [I feel] good," she told the station. "Sometimes not great. Like sometimes, I have problems sleeping because I close my eyes and I see their faces. I'm scared to sleep because I might have bad nightmares."
"I think she's a warrior," her mother told the station. "She's probably the strongest person I have ever known."