Florida woman seen on video escaping after months of alleged captivity, torture

A woman who authorities say was kidnapped and tortured for months was seen on video running to a gas station in Florida for help on Monday after escaping the man who allegedly held her captive.

Surveillance video from a Mobil gas station in Seffner captured the moment that the victim ran toward the gas station’s convenience store screaming for help.

"She was screaming and crying and said ‘I need help. I need help,’" gas station clerk Ashraf Zakhar told FOX13 Tampa. "She just ran to the bathroom and locked herself in."

Zakhar said the woman stayed locked in the bathroom for about 20 minutes as responding law enforcement and paramedics began to arrive.

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woman running for help
The moment a woman escaped her captor was captured on gas station surveillance video.

"Her face was swollen, black eyes," Zakhar told the station. "Her whole face was beat up so bad."

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The woman, whose identity has not been released, had allegedly been held captive and brutally tortured by 48-year-old Walter Medina. Medina had met the victim while she was panhandling in the Tampa area in January and gave her food and drugs, but soon his actions turned violent, authorities said.

Walter Medina mugshot
Walter Medina, 48, faces attempted second-degree murder and other charges after allegedly kidnapping a woman and torturing her for over two months.

Investigators said that Medina held the woman against her will for two and a half months. Medina allegedly used a wooden baseball bat and a flathead screwdriver to cause injuries including broken ribs, deep puncture wounds and extensive bruising.

After deputies found the woman at the gas station, she was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment.

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Meanwhile, Medina was believed to be seen driving around the gas station in a gold minivan in search of the woman as deputies kept watch.

Medina's minivan and trooper cruisers
The Florida Highway Patrol, Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office and Lakeland Police Department pursued the suspect and eventually apprehended him on Tuesday.

Medina was tracked down and apprehended on Tuesday after leading deputies, police and state troopers on a high-speed chase before crashing.

Walter Medina arrested
Medina was arrested after a high-speed chase across Polk and Osceola Counties on Tuesday.

Medina was charged with attempted second-degree murder, armed kidnapping, armed false imprisonment, aggravated battery with great bodily harm, tampering with a witness, and tampering with physical evidence.

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Medina had previously served time in prison for an earlier false imprisonment case and has an arrest history that includes charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and robbery.


Original article source: Florida woman seen on video escaping after months of alleged captivity, torture