Thirty-five-year-old Ashley Maupin is a social worker, a mother, and just recently became the victim of a carjacking and kidnapping. The incident occurred on Melton Street near Palmer Street on Tuesday around 10:15 a.m. Maupin had just finished making a home visit during her daily rounds as a social worker and got into her Ford Expedition. She drove toward Palmer Street when she pulled over to the side of the street to check her paperwork and get the address to her next destination. She pulled over to the side of the street and put the vehicle in park. As with many vehicles, when she put the gearshift into park her driver's side door automatically unlocked. It was at that instant when her experience began.
"Out of nowhere came this guy and within seconds he had my door open and had me out of my seatbelt and on the street," said Maupin.
She described the person that pulled her out of the car as a black male wearing a red toboggan. Not satisfied with just taking her vehicle, the suspect grabbed Maupin and shoved her back into the vehicle from the passenger side. Maupin said he wanted her to get back in the driver's seat and drive, but during the confusion another black male pulled her into the back seat and put a jacket over her head where she could not see.
"He still had my face covered up and I just kept telling them that I had two children and they were babies and they need their mother," said Maupin.
Maupin said the men drove around for approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
"At this point they had not said anything to each other until the guy that was holding me in the back said 'I'm going to open the door and shove you out and you start running and don't look back.'"
Maupin remembers being let out of the vehicle and running after the door opened. Maupin who was wearing scrubs had one of her cell phones inside her pants pocket and called 911 for help. Dyersburg Police responded to the call and located Maupin who was reportedly uninjured.
"They responded really quickly and got right on it and found my vehicle," said Maupin. "It was one street over (from where I was)."
Maupin said although she never saw a weapon and the men never verbally threatened her, she is still shaken up over the whole experience.
"I just want people to be made aware that this can happen anywhere," said Maupin. "Even in our sleepy little town of Dyersburg."
DPD Capt. Steve Isbell said police don't have any suspects in custody in the case and anyone with any information can call Crime Stoppers of Dyer County at 731-285-TIPS.
The suspects are described as two black males wearing winter-type clothing. One of the men had a type of balaclava covering his face and the other wore a red toboggan.
The first step to avoiding an attack is to stay alert at all times and be aware of your environment. The most likely places for a carjacking are:
* High-crime areas
* Lesser traveled roads (rural areas)
* Intersections where you must stop
* Isolated areas in parking lots
* Residential driveways and gates
* Traffic jams or congested areas
* Learn to avoid these areas and situations if possible. If not, take steps to prevent an attack.
In traffic, look around for possible avenues of escape. Keep some distance between you and the vehicle in front so you can maneuver easily if necessary -- about one-half of your vehicle's length. (You should always be able to see the rear tires of the vehicle in front of you.)
When stopped, use your rear and side-view mirrors to stay aware of your surroundings. Also keep your doors locked and windows up. This increases your safety and makes it more difficult for an attacker to surprise you.
Source: U.S. State Department