A terrifying ordeal
Sex offender's victim recounts abduction.
By ALICIA GALLEGOS Tribune Staff Writer
Article published Nov 22, 2009
MISHAWAKA -- The February afternoon was bright and sunny for the first time that winter as the then-19-year-old woman stopped at Taco Bell for lunch.
Sara had traded breaks with another hair salon employee that day, she later recalled at an interview at her South Bend home.
It is The Tribune's general policy not to name victims of crime; her name has been changed.
Sara sat in her car behind the hair salon where she works, eating the rest of her meal. Suddenly, she remembers the driver's-side door of her Toyota Corolla swinging open and a man standing above her.
"He said, 'Scoot over!'" she recalled. "I started screaming and holding down the horn."
The stranger, who Sara would later learn was a convicted sex offender recently released from prison, was Michael F. Lindsey, then 47.
Sara remembers trying to quickly crawl out of the passenger-side door.
"He grabbed me by the hood," she said. "He got me back (inside)."
Lindsey, who had a knife, told Sara to sit on the floor of the passenger side and not to move. He then put the car into gear and started driving.
Sara started questioning the man. Lindsey, she said, told her he had "done something bad" and had to get away.
"I said, 'Just promise me you won't hurt me.'"
The woman remained calm as the two drove on. Lindsey was relatively friendly, she said, making small talk. He agreed with Sara when she told him she would have to eventually call police. He told her the story would make a good one to tell her grandchildren someday, she remembered.
"I knew, obviously, I wasn't in a good situation," Sara said. "But I honestly thought he would drop me off in like a half-hour."
The young woman had no idea the drive would instead turn into a five-hour nightmare and land her in a desolate farm field in the middle of nowhere.
Haunting phone call