BlackBerry Saves Kidnapped Woman

Police track neighbor's BlackBerry signal to find woman stuffed in own trunk.

June 19, 2009, 7:20 AM

June 19, 2009 — -- For most people, losing a cell phone or BlackBerry is annoying and inconvenient, but for one Pennsylvania woman, a lost BlackBerry likely meant the difference between life and death.

On Sunday evening, 57-year-old Mary Wilkerson of Susquehanna Township, Pa., went to dinner with her neighbor Robert Scott and his wife. Wilkerson drove that night, and when Scott returned home later he realized he had left his BlackBerry in Wilkerson's car.

The next day Wilkerson's son called the police -- his mother had vanished from her home during the night.

When investigators asked Scott if he recalled anything suspicious, he remembered his missing BlackBerry.

"I began to talk, and I said, 'You know, I think my BlackBerry is in Mary's car,' and they said, 'Oh my God, that's all we need," Scott told "Good Morning America."

Using the BlackBerry's signal as a homing beacon, police worked with U.S. marshals and were able to track down Mary's car on Tuesday. They found it in an alley about eight miles from her home.

Then they heard noises coming from the trunk.

"We started to pry the trunk, and that's when I heard her voice," Susquehanna Township Police Chief Rob Martin said. "That's when I heard her saying, 'Get me out of here.'"

Three days stuffed in her trunk with no food or water took its toll on Wilkerson.

"She was conscious and able to talk but certainly in an unhealthy condition," Martin said.

Scott, a retired clinical psychiatrist and Penn State University professor, told the local newspaper The Patriot-News that even though Wilkerson "was scared to death," he was "surprised with her mental state.

"She was cognitive, communicative," Scott said. "Not a lot of people could go through what she went through."

Wilkerson was hospitalized for dehydration and bruises but returned home Thursday.

Later, she reportedly told friends a group of masked men broke into her home and kidnapped her.

No Suspects, No Official Motive

According to The Patriot-News, Wilkerson told Scott the men demanded money.

Police have no suspects, and are still investigating the motive.

Another neighbor, Andrea Jackson, told The Patriot-News it was "unexplainable" because Wilkerson did not flaunt wealth.

"She doesn't have anything extravagant in her house," Jackson said. "She's very frugal. I don't know what they expected to get from her."

Scott said he's just happy his BlackBerry was in the wrong place at the right time.

"It is a blessing in disguise in many ways," he said. "I am very thankful for that."

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