Woman Escapes Attempted Highway 99 Kidnapping

GRIDLEY -- A woman pulled off Highway 99 in Butte County because she needed to check the air pressure on her tires and that’s when she says a man pulled up behind her, initially offering to help.

After declining his help, the 20-year-old Gridley resident told authorities the man grabbed her arms and tried dragging her away.

"He attempted to grab her," said Butte County Sheriff's spokeswoman Miranda Bowersox. "She was able to fight him off, push him away and get back into her car."

The woman escaped and the suspected kidnapper took off, driving south on Highway 99.

Now, on the night before Halloween, that man is still on the loose.

In Gridley, Chris Benavidez says his wife told him about the attempted kidnapping that happened Monday morning in broad daylight. Now he says he and other parents will need to be extra vigilant when trick-or-treating Wednesday.

"You know, things like that happen and you always want to be safe. You know, it’s pretty crazy," he said.

While the encounter between the woman and suspect may have been brief, the victim did take good mental notes, according to investigators.

She described him as being in his 50s to 60s, with short, curly, salt and pepper hair. He also had sores on his face.

The woman added he was wearing a black shirt and pajama bottoms with baseballs on them.

Bowersox said given the scary ordeal, the victim handled it to a tee.

"Smart that she screamed, she pushed him away and fought," Bowersox said. "That’s exactly what you should do in this type of situation”

Even after getting away, the woman also got a good look at that man's pickup truck. Investigators say he may have been driving what appeared to be an early '90s Toyota, which was a cream color with a dent in the tailgate.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Butte County Sheriff’s Office at 503-538-7322.

Taylor Saenz contributed to this report.

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