A senior at University of West Georgia is recounting the terrifying memory of when she says she was kidnapped and raped and how a single text helped to save her life.
Jaila Gladden was leaving a local grocery store in Carrollton, Georgia, on Sept. 4, 2017, when a man asked her if she had a lighter. She told the man she did not and continued walking to her car. However, once she arrived at her car, she realized the man was behind her with a knife, reported Buzzfeed News.
Gladden told Buzzfeed the man pressed a knife into her abdomen and told her to get into the car. She made her way to the passenger seat of her green Honda Accord when the man asked if she knew how to get to Atlanta.
When the man began driving, Gladden said he stopped the car behind an abandoned church, and Gladden said he told her to take off her clothes. Gladden pleaded with him, but he told her there was “no purpose in crying.”
Gladden said he raped her outside the car. When he was done he told her to get back in.
The man started driving and said he needed money and was planning on robbing a gas station before driving to Michigan.
Gladden told him she couldn’t guide him toward gas stations unless he allowed her to use the GPS on her phone. The man then gave Gladden her phone and she immediately texted her boyfriend.
Tamir Bryant, Gladden’s boyfriend, was asleep when his phone sounded and he saw that she had sent him a screen shot of her location on Google Maps.
When he asked why she was in Atlanta, Gladden responded, “Kid napped. ”
“Stop playing rn,” Bryant replied. “I’m headed to the police station.”
After realizing Gladden was not joking Bryant headed to the police station.
“I immediately realized it was serious,” Bryant told BuzzFeed News. “She would never play like that. She would never say that for no reason.”
After a failed gas station robbery, the man told Gladden he was going to get money at a local Kroger store. Gladden again got her phone back from him to look for directions. This time she told her boyfriend where they were headed.
By this time, Bryant reached an Atlanta police station, and with the help of Gladden’s roommate, he was able to give them the make and model of her car.
Gladden had guided a man to the parking lot of a Kroger, where a police officer was able to find their car. Although the man attempted to drive away, he was eventually detained by officers and Gladded was safe.
Authorities have charged Timothy Wilson with kidnapping, hijacking a motor vehicle, aggravated assault, rape, aggravated sodomy, false imprisonment, and aggravated assault against a police officer, according to prison records. He is in jail awaiting trial.
Bryant believes his girlfriend's quick thinking and smart idea to share her location via text message is the sole reason police were able to find her as quickly as they did.
“If I didn’t get the location, who knows what would have happened,” Bryant told Buzzfeed. “Her doing it on her own — she was able to outsmart the bad guy.”
A spokesperson for the Carrollton police said in a statement that the public should "take lessons" from Gladden using her phone's location feature to alert her boyfriend.
"If this victim did not have her phone and did not think quickly she may not have been as lucky," the spokesperson told Buzzfeed.
(Photo: PeopleImages/Getty Images)