After nearly being kidnapped at knifepoint, a college student is sharing her terrifying story so other women in the same situation can escape safely.
Jaila Gladden from Carrollton, Georgia made a fateful late night trip to a grocery store last September. Gladden was returning home when a man in the store's parking lot asked if she had a cigarette lighter. Gladden said no, but when she reached her car the man had pressed a knife against her body.
Watch the left side of the video: Gladden, in green, is approached by her kidnapper in black.
The man forced Gladden into the car, before sliding into the driver's seat. After driving to an abandoned church nearby, Gladden says the kidnapper, later identified as Timothy Wilson, sexually assaulted her.
Then, he explained his chilling plan to her in detail. Wilson said he was short on cash, and wanted to drive from Georgia to Michigan, robbing banks along the way. Apparently, he expected Gladden to tag along for the ride.
But the clueless kidnapper needed directions to a nearby gas station, where he planned to start his crime spree. The college student convinced Wilson she needed her phone to Google for directions.
That turned out to be all she needed to help the police catch Wilson, using a special trick most people don't know about.
Throughout the night, Gladden says that Wilson drove to gas stations and grocery stores, where he put her in the car's trunk as he went to rob the store.
But at each stop, Wilson lost his nerve, let Gladden out of the trunk, and asked her to find directions for a new store.
Gladden had dimmed the screen on her phone so it looked like it was off, and managed to send her boyfriend Tamir Bryant a special text. Using the Location feature on her iPhone, she messaged him her exact geographic location.
Bryant texter her back right away, asking why she was in Atlanta.
"Kid napped," she texted back.
"Stop playing [right now]," he answered, but then told her "I'm heading to the police station."
As Bryant told BuzzFeed News, he quickly realized his girlfriend must be serious. “She would never play like that," he explained. "She would never say that for no reason.”
Throughout the night, the man took Gladden's phone away and gave it back, but she managed to send Bryant details about their location, the make and model of her car, and what kind of weapons Wilson had.
Thanks to the text messages, police tracked down her car and arrested Wilson in a matter of hours. The would-be kidnapper is now facing a string of charges, including kidnapping, hijacking a motor vehicle, aggravated assault, rape, and false imprisonment.
The Carrollton Police Department chalks up Gladden's rescue to her quick thinking and skills with her iPhone.
"If this victim did not have her phone and did not think quickly she may not have been as lucky," a spokesman for the department said.
You can enable Location sharing on your iPhone under Settings, Privacy, and Location Services. But beware, as some apps will let almost anyone see your location, which is also dangerous.
[H/T: BuzzFeed News]