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Kidnapped woman escapes truck driver’s cab after weeks on the road, Iowa cops say

How 911 calls are located

Emergency dispatchers in most cases can get an idea of where a 911 call is coming from. But the precision of pinning down that location depends on how the call is made.
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Emergency dispatchers in most cases can get an idea of where a 911 call is coming from. But the precision of pinning down that location depends on how the call is made.

A tractor-trailer driver kidnapped a 26-year-old woman at a truck stop and held her captive for weeks while traveling from state to state, police said.

She finally escaped in Iowa, according to police.

The Smyrna, New York, woman was reported missing in mid-August after her family hadn’t heard from her since July, according to The Daily Star.

She later told police she met James Scott Smith, 32, on a dating app on July 20, and got into his tractor-trailer at a truck stop in Pennsylvania, according to an arrest affidavit.

But once the woman got inside the cab of the truck, Smith didn’t allow her to leave, according to the affidavit. He also didn’t allow her to use her cellphone or call family, according to the affidavit.

When Smith saw a Facebook post about people searching for the woman, he made her call her mother and email a New York state trooper to tell them she wasn’t actually missing, according to the affidavit.

On Saturday, 911 dispatchers in Adair County, Iowa, received several emergency phone calls beginning at 9:50 a.m., Stuart police said in a news release on Facebook.

The woman had called 911 and put the cellphone under her seat, she told police. But she couldn’t talk directly to the dispatcher or give a location, police said.

The dispatcher could only hear a woman “asking someone to drop a knife,” according to the affidavit.

A sheriff’s deputy went to the area near where dispatchers believed the caller had dialed and couldn’t find anyone.

For an hour, Smith beat the woman and held her at knife-point, threatening to kill her and himself, according to the affidavit.

He let her go after she promised not to call the police, according ot the affidavit.

Then the woman was able to dial 911 from inside a Casey’s General Store, officials said. She told police officers responding to the scene that a man had kidnapped her at the truck stop in mid-July and forced her to stay with him “as he traveled multiple states in his semi,” according to the news release.

The woman told officers she was assaulted several times, police said. She had a bloody nose, a red mark on her cheek, an abrasion on her chest and bruise on her leg, police said.

The woman also had a possible infection on her left arm and thumb from where Smith had “forcefully tattooed her,” according to the affidavit.

She was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Police then obtained a search warrant for the semi trailer and seized evidence from inside the cab, according to a news release.

Smith told investigators that his relationship with the woman was consensual, according to the affidavit.

The woman disagreed. She said Smith forced her to have sex every night and beat or threatened her with a knife if she refused, according to the affidavit.

Smith, of Mexico, New York, was charged with first-degree kidnapping, harassment, domestic assault with a weapon and obstruction of emergency communication, police said. He was in jail on $1,010,000 bond, according to the news release.

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.
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