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‘He’s Gonna Kill Me!’: Woman Escapes Alleged Captor's Car, Gets Help From Gas Station Attendant
Authorities in Florida are now searching for suspect Cody Jackson, who's accused of assaulting a woman and restraining her in his Mitsubishi.
A Florida man is on the run from law enforcement after a woman, bound in extension cords, allegedly leapt from his car while he was fueling up at a gas station.
Jackson pulled up at Citigo filling station in Inverness and as he was heading into the store, the victim, who allegedly was restrained in his Mitsubishi Eclipse, managed to escape the vehicle. A gas station clerk later came to the woman’s aid.
"He seen the girl that he had bound in the car escaping from the car and he started running out the door,” Rachel Craddock told WTVT. “While he was running out the door she was running to my private door that was locked. She was banging on it, saying, 'Help me! Help me! Help me! He’s gonna kill me! He’s right there, he’s right there!' And I hurried up and unlocked the door and I pulled her in and I locked that door."
"[There were] extension cords around her arms and she had matted hair with blood, and all I could think was get her safe into the store with me," Craddock also told the outlet.
Jackson then allegedly fled. The vehicle he was driving was subsequently recovered by law enforcement near U.S. Route 41 in Tampa.
The woman was treated for her injuries at Citrus Memorial Hospital. She’d known Jackson for roughly a year prior to the attack, according to WFLA-TV.
Jackson got into a dispute with the victim around 11 a.m. that day, detectives said. He allegedly later clubbed her in the head with a piece of wood and forced her into his Mitsubishi and began driving. At one point, he allegedly stopped to wrap the woman’s limbs with extension cords.
“[He] threw me down to the ground and started choking me and punching me in the face and then pulled me into the house,” the woman, who wasn’t identified out of safety concerns, told WFLA-TV. “I was crying still and I said please stop doing this and he picked up a wire and tried to get a wire around me but I stopped it. But he threw me down on the floor again and choked me again with his hands.”
The woman said she later jumped out of Jackson’s car and began banging on the windows of the Citgo gas station.
“She didn’t know what to make of me at first,” she recalled, referring to the gas station attendant. “The door was locked and I’m banging on it saying let me in. ... She didn’t know what to do at first. She was a little shocked and then she realized what was going on.”
Investigators described the botched kidnapping as a “targeted” act.
“This man's actions are reprehensible,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. “He was threatening this victim's life and it could have ended in tragedy had the victim not managed to escape just in time. This attack was targeted. However, given Jackson's violent behavior, we are urging anyone who comes in contact with him to please call us immediately."
Jackson may be armed and dangerous, according to authorities.
“Please do not engage with the suspect,” Chronister added.
Jackson was still at large as of Thursday morning.
A spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment further on the case.
Jackson is approximately 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds. He has multiple tattoos, including one on his stomach-area that says, “Pure Bred.”
He has an extensive criminal history in Hillsborough County dating back to 2005, court records show.
In 2020, Jackson allegedly armed himself with a kitchen knife and stole a BMW sedan from a woman he has a child with, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com. He pleaded guilty to grand theft of a motor vehicle. He was also found guilty of possession of a controlled substance in a separate case last year.
Jackson’s past arrests include driving under the influence causing great bodily injury, burglary, grand theft, armed trespass, and dealing in stolen property, additional court filings show.
Anybody with information related to Jackson's whereabouts is urged to contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 813-247-8200.