Search continues for a man who kidnapped his girlfriend at gun point
Story by Felicia Martinez, Weekend Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
YUMA, AZ (KSWT News 13) - Yuma County Sheriff's deputies continue to search for a man who kidnapped his girlfriend and threatened to kill her over the weekend.
Deputies say 23-year old Gary Lynn Smith is considered armed and dangerous.
Anyone who sees him is asked to call the sheriff's department.
Deputies say Smith assaulted his girlfriend and then forced her into his car at gunpoint.
Smith also threatened to kill himself and at least two other friends. His girlfriend escaped from the car and went to the sheriff's office for help.
Deputies say they are closely tracking Smith.
They believe they know where he is and hope to make an arrest soon.
What drives a relationship to escalate to extreme violence?
Dianne Umphress, Executive Director at Amberly's Place and an advocate for battered women, says that situations like this one often happen during a breakup when the man is losing control.
Deputies say Smith has been in and out of jail since 2008.
On Saturday, deputies say Smith pointed a gun at his girlfriend forced her into his car and threatened to kill her.
Umphress would not comment on this particular case but says anytime a victim is able to escape from her abuser it could be the difference between life and death.
"As community members we really need to pay attention to what's going on around in our community. If you're driving down the road and you see somebody in a car that's screaming and maybe trying to fight, it would be a really good idea to get a description of that car and possibly the license plate and report it. Victims don't want to be abused. Their not asking to be beat. They need support and need help to make that possible to get away," Umphress said.
Deputies say they have made arrangements to make sure the victim has a safe place to stay.
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