New Surveillance Video Shows Abduction of Missing Philadelphia Woman, Carlesha Freeland-Gaither

Photo by Carlesha Freeland-Gaither
The 22-year-old was kidnapped Sunday night while walking home in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia police have released unsettling footage of the violent abduction of 22-year-old Carlesha Freeland-Gaither on Sunday night.

Freeland-Gaither was returning to her Philadelphia neighborhood by bus at 9:40pm and was supposed to call her boyfriend to meet her for the six-block walk to her home, PEOPLE reports. Instead, the surveillance video shows her being met by a man who grabbed her and dragged her into his vehicle, which shook violently several times before driving away. 

The abduction was witnessed by bystanders who told police that Freeland-Gaither was yelling for help while being forced into the back of what appeared to be a four-door, gray Ford Taurus. Witnesses also told police that she broke through the rear windows before the car took off. Her glasses and cell phone were dropped on the street during the struggle.

"She was not giving up. She was not going to be taken," said the victim's mother, Keisha Gaither. "She's going to keep fighting to the end. She's coming back to me."

Philadelphia police describe the suspect as a 5-foot-10 Black male with a medium complexion and a medium to heavy physique. He is likely between the ages of 25 and 30.

The day after the kidnapping, Freeland-Gaither's ATM card was used at a convenience store in Maryland where she used to live. According to the Huffington Post, Freeland-Gaither's family didn't recognize the man in the images from the convenience store, but her mother does believe the abduction was not random.

"It's devastating to watch that video," she told Philly.com. "I see him hitting my daughter. I see him dragging my daughter. You can see the way it looks like he was setting her up, it looks like something that was planned."

The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward and local Philadelphia officials are also offering a substantial reward for any information leading to the arrest of the kidnapper. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Philadelphia police tip line at 215.686.TIPS.

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