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Crime News

Bound Victim Stole Alleged Kidnapper's Truck And Drove To Safety

The unidentified victim escaped despite having her hands bound by duct tape and her head "partially covered with a bag and duct tape," according to authorities. Mack Varnum and Nichole Cloutier now face multiple charges.

By Christina Coulter
Police handouts of Nichole Cloutier and Mack Varnum

A Vermont woman was able to commandeer her alleged kidnappers' truck and drive to get help after authorities say she was snatched from a roadside, blindfolded, restrained with duct tape and threatened for several hours on Thursday.

Alleged kidnappers Mack Varnum, 45, and Nichole Cloutier, 36, now face a slew of charges, including unlawful restraint, kidnapping and aggravated assault, according to a Vermont State Police press release. Additionally, Varnum is charged with attempted first-degree murder.

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The St. Johnsbury Police Department and other emergency service units responded around 11:30 a.m. Thursday after getting reports of a woman in a vehicle with her hands bound together with duct tape, and her head partially covered with a bag and duct tape. She managed to drive a truck later identified as Varnum's to Bay St. in St. Johnsbury, despite her bound hands and the bag on her head.

She was freed and taken by first responders to Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, where she told detectives that she was grabbed from the roadside in the nearby town of Peacham.

"The victim was driven in the Peacham and Danville area and restrained for several hours, while her life was threatened," according to the release. "At one point the victim was left alone in the truck, enabling her to break free enough to drive away in the truck and escape."

On Friday, the two alleged kidnappers were arrested at Varnum's home, which investigators said was close to the spot where the woman was abducted. A third individual, 35-year-old Janita Ledoux, was also arrested at the residence for an unrelated, outstanding warrant and parole violations, police said. Oxygen.com was unable to reach the Vermont Department of Corrections for further information on her charges.

Varnum and Cloutier were sent to Northeast Regional Correctional Center without bail, and both were arraigned on Monday in Caledonia County Court, according to state police. The Caledonia County Court clerk was unable to confirm whether the arraignment had taken place at press time or when their next court hearing was scheduled.