NBA player J.J. Redick believes he may have witnessed something nefarious during a recent car service ride, when he and his companions spotted what appeared to have been a human locked in a cage in the driver’s trunk.
Redick, shooting guard for the 76ers, recounted the chilling experience during an episode of The J.J. Redick Podcast on Thursday. After a photo shoot that took place the day before the podcast episode was recorded, the company with whom Redick was working arranged for a driver to take Redick, his wife Chelsea, and sister-in-law Kylee home, he explained. Things got off to a strange start, however, after the driver opened his trunk for Reddick to put their things inside, and Reddick noticed a strange smell emanating from the space.
Redick then explained that later on during the drive, his sister-in-law tapped him on the shoulder and was “pale as a ghost” as she whispered, “There’s a person in the back.” After Redick turned around to investigate, he said, he noticed a blanket covering a big “cage or box” in the back. They immediately asked the driver to pull over so they could jump out. Redick then confronted the driver, asking, “Sir, you have something in the trunk in your car. Do you know what that is? Is there something in the trunk of your car?”
After the driver said no, Redick hastily grabbed their belongings out of the trunk, fearing that what was under the blanket could have been a “python” or a “robber.” He then confronted the driver again: “Sir, I think there’s a person in your backseat.” The driver then lifted the blanket in such a way that Redick and his family could not see what was truly underneath it, and again denied having anything — or anyone — in the trunk before dropping the blanket and closing the trunk again.
From there, things got even stranger, Redick explained: “And as he’s, like, walking around to the front seat, a head pops up. ... No, this is not funny. There’s a back of a female’s head ... blonde hair, there’s a ponytail, and based on the size of the box or cage that this person is in, it’s like either, a very small human, or a child.”
The driver drove away, leaving Redick and his companions to wonder what exactly they had seen. While they did theorize that perhaps it had been a dog in the car, Kylee said that she’d seen “half of a human face” — “a woman’s eyes, woman’s face, woman’s blonde hair.”
After getting into a cab, the group contacted the car agency, who “acted like they didn’t know what [he] was talking about,” followed by the police and the FBI tip line. While Redick, at the time of the interview, had not heard back from law enforcement yet, he did state that the car agency sent an email stating that the driver had been suspended for having a passenger in his front seat.
Redick further theorized that, in the best case scenario, the driver had been attempting to give a friend or family member a ride during work hours, but “child abduction” and “human trafficking” were still options.
Redick later added, “It definitely was not a dog, I will say that. It was a human being in the backseat of his car, under a blanket, in some sort of box or cage. That’s my story.”
A spokesperson for the New York Police Department told the Huffington Post that they were unable to locate any report about the alleged incident.
In a series of tweets, Redick spoke out in defense of how he handled the situation, HuffPo reports, explaining that his priority was to protect his family.
“I was more concerned with safety of wife and sister in law,” he reportedly wrote. “Had no idea what was under blanket and still don’t. Didn’t see back of human head until after [the driver] locked doors and drove.”
Redick’s Twitter account appears to have since been deleted.
[Photo: J.J. Redick of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during game five of the Eastern Conference Second Round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on May 9, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. By Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]