Woman escapes kidnappers by driving off in their car with hands bound by tape, cops say

A woman escaped kidnappers when they momentarily left her alone in their truck after several hours of being restrained and threatened, police in Vermont say.

She found a way to get behind the wheel — with her hands bound by duct tape and a bag covering her head — and drove off the morning of Feb. 23, according to Vermont State Police.

Authorities were called to a report of her sitting in the truck, with her hands taped together and her head “partially covered” with the bag and more tape, at about 11:30 a.m. in St. Johnsbury, a Feb. 24 police news release said.

The woman told police, after they fully freed her, that she was kidnapped in the area of Peacham and Danville, a few miles from St. Johnsbury, according to police. Then they launched their investigation.

The next day, authorities arrested Mack Varnum and Nichole Cloutier, officials said. Now the pair is facing charges of attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping, first-degree unlawful restraint and first-degree aggravated domestic assault.

Investigators learned Varnum and Cloutier picked the woman up on the side of the road near Varnum’s home in Peacham on Feb. 23, police said. That is when she was restrained and bound against her will, according to police.

She was treated at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital and eventually released.

Varnum and Cloutier were arrested at Varnum’s home “without incident,” police said. A third person was also arrested at the home in connection to an unrelated matter.

They are currently being held without bail and are due for an arraignment Feb. 27, according to police.

St. Johnsbury is about 170 miles northwest of Boston.

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