Trucker Arrested After Woman Says She Was Held Hostage Inside Semi Since July
Stuart, IA – A trucker was arrested on Saturday at a convenience store in Iowa after a woman whom he met online alerted police she was being held against her will inside of his semi-truck.
According to the Stuart Police Department (SPD), Amber L. Garrison, 26, of Smyrna, NY called 9-1-1 on Saturday to report she had been kidnapped from a Pennsylvania truck stop on July 20, 2019 by 32-year-old truck driver James S. Smith, Jr. of Mexico, NY.
SPD said Garrison made numerous calls to 9-1-1 and put the cellphone under the seat so as not to tip Smith off.
However, officials said Smith realized what Garrison had done and allegedly held her in the cab against her will for about an hour, beat her and held a knife on her.
Garrison told authorities Smith threatened to kill her and himself.
SPD said Garrison claimed the two met on a dating website, but things quickly turned violent.
Garrison, who was reported missing in August, told SPD investigators Smith assaulted her on numerous occasions and forced her to remain inside his truck during the more than one month journey through multiple states.
Officials said they where able to locate Garrison on Saturday afternoon after she called 9-1-1 from inside of a Casey’s General store located at 708 S. Division Street in Stuart.
Garrison told authorities Smith promised to let her go if she would agree not to inform police.
SPD said Garrison had visible injuries on her upper body, including blood coming from her nose.
She also complained about a possible infection caused by Smith allegedly having forced her to be tattooed.
Further, authorities said Garrison identified the semi-truck and a search warrant was issued.
According to SPD, the search was conducted and evidence was found and seized.
Investigators said Garrison and Smith had remained in Stuart for approximately two weeks due to an issue with Smith’s commercial driver’s license preventing him from driving.
Smith told investigators the relationship was consensual and he did nothing to hold Garrison against her will.
He was subsequently arrested on charges that include domestic assault with a weapon/first offense, harassment in the first degree, first-degree kidnapping , and obstruction of emergency communication.
He is being held in the Adair County Jail on $1,010,000 bond.
SPD said the investigation is ongoing and more charges could be filed.