Horrific details are emerging in the case of Jasmine Block, the 15-year-old Minnesota girl who was kidnapped and abused for nearly a month before making a dramatic and courageous escape.
Block says her captors tried to kill her several times in between sexual assaults and that she was transported to different homes in a duffel bag, “like an animal,” in the words of prosecutors, according to Fox 9 in Minneapolis.
Block, whom Alexandria Police Chief Rick Wyffels called “an amazing young lady with a lot of strength,” told Fox 9 about her captivity in an exclusive interview. Earlier on the day of August 8 she had gotten a migraine headache. While she was resting at home that night, family friend Thomas Barker approached her and asked her to help him with his son, whom he claimed was misbehaving.
The 32-yeaar-old Barker suffers from Cerebral Palsy and is married with six children, one of whom is a friend of Block’s, according to NBC affiliate KARE 11. He also has an extensive criminal history, including misdemeanor convictions for burglary, disorderly conduct and theft, according to Fox 9.
After getting into Barker’s truck, Block was surprised when he drove to a mobile home in Carlos, Minnesota, rather than the one in Alexandria, where his children live.
Once inside the mobile home Barker shared with 31-year-old friend Joshua Holby, Block says she was restrained with string ties, threatened with a gun and sexually assaulted by Barker.
For the next several weeks, she endured repeated physical and sexual abuse. "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.
Two weeks into her captivity, 20-year-old Steven Powers came to stay at the mobile home and soon discovered Block hidden in a closet with a television and fan. Rather than notify police, he became a willing participant in the 15-year-old’s abuse. Block told investigators she was repeatedly forced to have sex with Barker and perform oral sex on both him and Powers. Holby did not reportedly take part in any of the sexual assaults.
Block told police that several times during her captivity, her kidnappers tried to kill her. At one point, Barker attempted to drown her in a bathtub, but she was able to fight him off. Another time, Holby and Barker put her inside a duffel bag and tried to submerge her in a bathtub, but she was able to stick her head out of it.
She also claims a cord was wrapped around her neck while she was told to stand on top of a bucket. The criminal complaint, which was obtained by Yahoo News, says, "She stated that Holby then forced her off of the bucket and she described a period in which she could not breathe."
Toward the end of her captivity, Block was moved to a series of remote locations, stuffed into a duffel bag for transportation. When her captors finally left her alone one day she made a break for it, swimming across a lake and eventually being rescued by a local farmer who recognized her from news reports.
Powers was soon apprehended, with Barker and Holby being taken into custody a short time later. Powers later told police that at one point a deputy had come by the mobile home where Jasmine was being held hostage to investigate a stolen property claim, but left when no one answered the door.
In court Thursday, Barker was charged with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon and one count of false imprisonment. Powers meanwhile was charged with one count of kidnapping, one count of criminal sexual conduct and one count of false imprisonment. Holby charges include two counts of kidnapping and one count of false imprisonment.
When he was picked up police, Barker denied picking up Block or even knowing her, but admitted that he had been using crystal meth and drinking alcohol.
Both Barker and Powers are being held on $1,000,000 bond.
Photo: Facebook, Fox News, Alexandria Police Department]
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