After just returning from a five day Red Brangus Cow sale where we also met our daughter to buy clothes for the soon-to-be-birthed, first grandchild, I had gotten an early start that morning to catch up on my chores. We live 12 miles in the country, so I was surprised to be interrupted by a young man in an old van—supposedly lost—asking for a drink of water. But, the pretense was over when he pulled a gun and told me to get in the car. My surprised scream was soon stifled, however, when he threatened my life if I did that again. I was thrown into the back of the van and a man wearing a nylon stocking on his head put athletic tape over my mouth and hands and covered my head with a black windbreaker. Black shag carpet covered the sides, floor and roof of the van and the windows were covered with black curtains.
I Couldn't Tell Where They Were Taking Me!
I couldn’t tell where they were taking me. I know that we crossed railroad tracks and ended up on a gravel road. I had never been so frightened in my life. All I could think about was that I was soon to be 50—soon to be a grandmother—and, I wasn’t sure I would live to see either; but my greatest fear was being raped. Finally, however, I came to my senses and started claiming my spiritual covenant promise of protection. I suddenly realized--I was a child of God—fear was of the devil—and I was trusting God that nothing would happen to me.
By this time we had stopped and with a wool cap pulled down over my face, I was led over a barbed wire fence and across a pasture to an old abandoned ranch house where I was handcuffed to the bathroom lavatory and asked, “What would be the best way to get your husband to cooperate without alerting the police.”Then I was warned that if he went to the police he would never see me again—alive! A phone call with all the usual kidnapping threats and instructions was planned, and then I was left to my dilemma.
Quoting God's Promises
Still quoting my promises, singing hymns of deliverance and thanking God, I was frantically working to get the pipes loose, but they wouldn’t budge. God said in Psalm 91:15: “In your day of trouble, call upon Me and I will answer.” I started praying, “Lord, I am calling on You! I can’t do this, but You can. Show me a way to get loose.” Then, for the first time I noticed a tiny pipe coming up the back of the sink. I don’t have any idea how I was able to break through, but I know it was a miracle because later the FBI agent couldn’t believe I was able to do what I did.
Feeling sure the kidnappers would make their call to Don and be back shortly, I was out the back door and over the fence in no time. I had no idea where I was, but I was confident God would get me where I needed to be. Twelve miles later I came to a house with every door locked except the front door. (I later found out that the lady never left her doors unlocked, except on this particular day.) After several calls the Sheriff was on his way to get me, but my husband had already left for Goldthwaite, Texas, with the ransom money.
The kidnappers skipped that first meeting but called at 12:30 that night with a new appointed place to meet in Austin,Texas. Obviously, they didn’t know I had escaped. This time it was the Texas Rangers who met and took the first man into custody, and later, the second one was apprehended. I was called to Austin by the FBI to pick him out of a “line-up.” All I asked was for the men in the line-up to wear a ball cap and say, “Would you get me a glass of water?” With that, I was able to successfully pick him out of the group and my job was over.
I thank God for His covenant of protection in Psalm 91. We do not have to be afraid of the “terror of what man can do to us—it will not approach us when we run to God and dwell in His Shelter.”
[The man who was convicted of this crime was no amateur criminal. According to police investigation he had a habitual crime problem since his youth and had previously been convicted and imprisoned for robbery, indecency and sexual assault. For this present offense he was sentenced to 99 years in prison. The sheriff told Mrs. Johnson that they had never had anyone in their local jail as malicious as this man. The FBI was shocked that Mrs. Johnson was able to escape and even more shocked that she had not been beaten, raped or murdered. One of the FBI made the comment, “We cannot believe we are sitting here today with you and that you are alive and well.”]
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