Shasta County, Calif. – On December 4th, police received a report of a kidnapped man who had escaped his captors in Old Station, California. While deputies responded to the scene, they also searched the area for the suspects with the aid of a California Highway Patrol helicopter.
According to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, CHP officers found the suspect’s vehicle driving in rural Lassen County. They tried to pull the vehicle over, but the driver didn’t stop. A pursuit began that lasted roughly ten miles. It finally ended in the community of Westwood, California.
Deputies said the driver was identified as 46-year-old David Allen Schott Jr. The passengers were identified as 29-year-old Crystal Alicia Rhodes and 22-year-old Hannah Joy Short. All three suspects were taken into custody and booked into the Shasta County Jail on numerous charges including kidnapping, elder abuse, assault, and vehicle theft.
An investigation shows the 72-year-old kidnapping victim was trying to help Crystal Rhodes retrieve her vehicle from a residence in Ono, California the day before the arrests. While they were at the home, David Schott hit the victim in the head with a blunt object, causing him to lose consciousness. Schott then allegedly forced the victim to give up his a Social Security debit card.
SCSO said the victim was confined in the back of the suspects’ truck under a camper shell for around six hours while they drove around in sub-freezing temperatures.
Deputies said when the suspects stopped at the Old Station Fill gas station, the victim noticed they had left him alone. He kicked out the rear glass window of the camper shell, crawled out and ran to a wooded area. Shortly thereafter, the three suspects returned to the truck and drove away.
The kidnapping victim was taken to the hospital due to injuries he suffered during his abduction. He was later released is now safe with his family.
Though the suspects are in custody, the investigation is ongoing. Deputies are looking in to the various businesses the suspects visited and where the victim’s debit card was used. If you have any information, call the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Burney Patrol via 530-245-6540.