A 15-year-old from Alexandria, Minnesota, was missing for 29 days. The teen reportedly disappeared from outside of her mother’s home the night of August 8.Screenshot/KMSP
According to NBC News, the teen was unwell with a migraine and resting at home when her mother had to leave in order to deal with a family emergency.
Sarah Block left her daughter at home with her older sister and her sister’s boyfriend. When she returned, the teen was gone, but all of her belongings were still there with the exception of a pair of shoes and the pajama top she was wearing.
Having seemingly vanished, a wide-scale search ensued that included hundreds of volunteers, local authorities, and the FBI. Ground searches and helicopter flyovers resulted as well, but there was no trace of the teen. Until now.
As KARE reports, officials believe the teen was taken from her home on the evening of August 8 by an acquaintance of the family claiming he needed help with a “family situation.”
Alexandria Police Chief Rick Wyffels told reporters in a press conference that because the teen knew 32-year-old Thomas Barker, she offered to help and got into his car. Barker took the teen to his home in Carlos, where he allegedly held her captive against her will for the next 29 days.
She was restrained with zip ties while Barker, his roommate, and another friend allegedly assaulted her, physically and sexually, and threatened her with weapons while keeping her mostly in a closet in the back of the house. The men reportedly took the teen to other locations as well, including a cornfield and a foreclosed property.
When they left the teen alone for the first time at the rural foreclosed property, she was able to make a run for it.
As KARE reports, the three suspects left to get something to eat. That’s when the teen ran from the property and began knocking on the doors of nearby homes for help, but no one answered.
The teen then jumped into Thompson Lake and swam across to another farm.Screenshot/Google Maps
At the same time, the man who lives on the farm had just returned home from work because he forgot something by accident.
In an interview with WCCO, the man, who asked not to be identified, said he saw what he thought was a deer in the tall grass behind his home:
“She was up so I could see her but I couldn’t tell what it was.”
He got into his truck and drove closer to the creature when she started running toward him:
“When she come walking out of the grass I’m thinking oh my gosh, you got to be kidding me. When I saw her face I knew right away.”
The teen wasn’t wearing any pants or shoes, explaining they had made it difficult for her to swim across the lake. The man told her to get into his truck, and he called for help.
According to KMSP, as the man drove the teen to authorities in a nearby town, she spotted a car being driven by Barker. Police immediately chased it down, and Barker was arrested. Officers were then led to 20-year-old Steven Powers and 31-year-old Joshua Holby, who were arrested as well.Alexandria Police Department (L-R: Barker, Holby, Powers)
All three suspects are being held in the Douglas County Jail on probable cause for kidnapping, false imprisonment and assault. They have reportedly not stated why they targeted the teen.
The teen was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries. In an interview with KMSP, Sarah Block said being reunited with her daughter was the “best feeling”:
“It was like heaven. I thought having a child was the best feeling, but seeing Jasmine right in front of my eyes was beyond that.”
The investigation into the teen’s disappearance is ongoing. Police are asking local farmers to check their cornfields for any signs a car may have driven through them.