A woman who was allegedly kidnapped at a car dealership in Phoenix was rescued at a gas station in northern Arizona after she discreetly passed a note to a customer, seeking assistance. The incident took place on Tuesday evening at a Chevron station in Seligman, located approximately 170 miles north of Phoenix. The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) swiftly responded to the call for help and successfully located the suspect’s vehicle, leading to the arrest of the alleged kidnapper.
According to the YCSO, the woman managed to signal another customer at the Chevron station and discreetly handed them a note containing her name and instructions to call the police. The note also provided crucial details, including the description of the vehicle she was in, a phone number, and the direction they were headed – Kingman, Arizona, and Las Vegas. A photograph of the yellow sticky note displayed the words, “Help… Call 911… Blue Honda Van…”
The concerned customer wasted no time and immediately dialed emergency services, informing them that the van had just departed westbound on I-40. The customer also provided authorities with additional information, such as the clothing worn by the woman and the alleged kidnapper. The YCSO promptly responded to the scene and, with the assistance of the Department of Public Safety, successfully located the van beyond Mile Post 116 on I-40.
The suspect, identified as 41-year-old Jacob Wilhoit, was apprehended by law enforcement and now faces charges including threatening, aggravated assault, unlawful imprisonment, and kidnapping. The YCSO revealed that the victim had been reported missing by her mother earlier that afternoon, and Wilhoit had been named as a person of interest in the missing person’s entry.
Authorities disclosed that the woman and Wilhoit were acquainted, although they did not provide a motive for the alleged kidnapping. The YCSO statement revealed that Wilhoit, who had reportedly been wearing a wig, posed as an Uber driver and abducted the woman from a car dealership in the Phoenix area on Monday morning. He then transported her in his minivan, restraining her with zip ties.
The YCSO commended the victim for her bravery in passing the note and expressed gratitude towards the customer who promptly called 911. YCSO spokesperson Kristin Greene praised the victim’s actions to escape the kidnapper.