Jaila Gladden, a 21-year-old college student, was shopping at a grocery store when a man approached her, put a knife to her stomach, and forced her into her car, taking the driver’s seat himself, kidnapping her. He pulled over behind an abandoned church, instructed her to remove her clothes, and raped her while holding a knife to her throat.
Her attacker, identified as Timothy Wilson, had kidnapped Gladden, a senior at the University of West Georgia, from a Kroger grocery store in Carrollton, took her phone, and began driving toward Atlanta before stopping to rape her.
During the assault, he told Gladden that there was “no purpose in crying,” as she pleaded with him to release her.
After the rape, Wilson forced her back into the car and said they were going to drive to Michigan, instructing Gladden to find a gas station he could rob along the way.
Gladden took advantage of the request, stating she needed her phone back so she could locate gas stations and navigate him as he drove.
Wilson gave her the phone back. Gladden quickly dimmed the screen, making it harder for him to see what she was doing, and the quick-thinking college student used the iPhone’s “Share My Location” feature to send information to her boyfriend, Tamir Bryant, in a text message.
According to a report by the Daily Mail, Gladden considered it “the most logical thing to do.”
Gladden kept her messages short, trying to avoid being found out by her kidnapper and rapist, telling Bryant she had been “kid napped.”
Bryant headed to a police station, gathering as many details as possible before Wilson reclaimed the phone and forced Gladden into the trunk of the car as he prepared to rob a gas station.
When the robbery was unsuccessful, he changed his desired target to a grocery store, again providing her with the phone to help navigate him. Gladden fired off a few more messages along the way, including a request that police not to approach with sirens, saying, “I don’t want him to kill me.”
She was again placed in the trunk without her iPhone once they arrived.
Bryant tracked her location, providing updates to officers. Once a cop located the vehicle, the kidnapper attempted to flee, speeding off in the car, though Wilson eventually crashed into a fence and resorted to running.
Gladden managed to escape the car, running towards the police officers.
“If I didn’t get the location, who knows what would have happened,” said Bryant. “Her doing it on her own – she was able to outsmart the bad guy.”
Wilson managed to elude officers for ten hours, though was eventually captured. He has been charged with kidnapping, hijacking a motor vehicle, aggravated assault, aggravated sodomy, rape, false imprisonment, and aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer.
He is currently in custody and awaiting trial.