Woman escapes abduction attempt in East Memphis

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 11:11 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - An East Memphis neighborhood is on edge after a woman was nearly kidnapped on Chanwil Avenue.

The MPD narrative tells us this happened just before 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

The would-be victim, a 28-year-old woman who we’re leaving anonymous to respect privacy, was jogging down Chanwil with her dog.

From the window of her kitchen, neighbor Laura Slavney could see a dark vehicle making its way down the road toward the jogger.

“I just happened to look up,” Slavney said, remembering the sound of a loud muffler. “I noticed (the car) went up alongside her.”

Slavney said once the car came alongside the jogger, the driver threw it in reverse and followed her.

“The passenger rear door opened. I knew exactly, instinctively, something bad was happening,” Slavney said. “She did too. She screamed and took off running. In the meantime, I ran to my garage.”

In the garage was Slavney’s husband and a contractor who was working on their house.

The three went outside to meet the young woman.

“She ran to us, and (the vehicle) backed up and headed west,” said Slavney. “We were all just standing out there talking, and we were like, ‘What just happened?’ What do you think they were doing?’ It was very scary. She thought she was being kidnapped.”

There were several homes in view of the scene with video security doorbells, though we were unable to make contact with any of those neighbors.

MPD said the victim’s home, which was nearby, had security video of the car driving away, and there is also a SkyCop nearby.

The only description of the vehicle we’ve been given is a “dark grey, unknown make and model car with rear-end damage, back tinted windows and no hub caps on the rims.”

The two inside the vehicle were described by the victim as men wearing ski masks, gloves, and long-sleeve shirts.

“It’s so sad,” Slavney said. “This is such a nice, quiet, beautiful neighborhood. I mean, everybody walks their dogs. There are a lot of children out. You can ride your bikes. This just doesn’t happen in our neighborhood.”

Slavney said her neighborhood is well-connected through Nextdoor and GroupMe and that the next step will be making tweaks to their association to be more vigilant for suspicious activity, in hopes of preventing this situation from happening again.

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