Kidnapping, burglary may be related

November 5, 2009 2:44:30 AM PST
A day after a missing woman was found safe in Chatham County, apatment managers distributed fliers in the victim's neighborhood -- informing residents about what happened. Managers at the Abberly Place Apartment Complex are asking residents to report anything they may have seen.

"I was pretty shocked," concerned resident Jodie Hochstein said. "It feels pretty safe walking around here most of the time. You're always aware of your surroundings but this is not something you'd expect."

Police also are investigating the possibility that the kidnapping is related to a burglary that happened over Labor Day weekend.

Investigators say someone stole jewelry from Sheila and Mike Shaner's home and then set it on fire.

No one was arrested in that case.

Shelia Shaner, 54, was found on U.S. Highway 64 around midnight Tuesday. Detectives say she told them someone had kidnapped her after she drove away from the parking lot of her apartment off Timber Drive Monday morning.

Shaner's daughter told ABC 11 that her mother went to a gas station and was rummaging in her purse for her gas card when she realized there was a man in the backseat of the car.

She said Shaner was looking for the card when she said "Where did I put that?" to herself. The man said "Let's see what else is in there."

The man said he had a gun, but Shaner never saw it. He told her to drive to a different gas station, and then directed her to take off her shoes so she wouldn't run away before pumping $30 dollars worth of gas.

He then told Shaner to drive to Jordan Lake and gave her very specific directions to a muddy dirt road with a chain across it. He told her to drive up the road, but she told the man the car would get stuck. He told her "It's not the car that I want."

Shaner then told the man she couldn't walk without shoes and asked the man if she could put on a pair of sneakers she had in the car. When he agreed, she took off running into the woods and hid. She stayed hidden all day and then came out to Highway 64 after dark to flag down a motorist.

She said several cars passed before an EMS worker finally stopped and called 911.

Click here to listen to the 911 call

Police were already looking for Shaner because her husband called when she never arrived to her job at First Citizens Data Processing Center located at Tryon and Hammond roads.

"I'm in the parking lot where my wife works. She left for work this morning about 20 til 8 a.m. We cannot find her, cannot locate her. She's never late to work," said the man.

Click here to listen to his 911 call

Investigators were looking for Shaner's 2006 silver Pontiac Montana with the NC license plate WPV-3659. ABC11's helicopter located the minivan just before noon Tuesday parked on a dirt road off Seaforth Road near Hwy 64 and contacted authorities.

Click here for pictures

Shaner described her abductor as a younger white male wearing camouflage clothing.

Tuesday evening, the family released a statement that said in part, "Our family would like to extend our gratitude for all of the thoughts, prayers, and concerns that have been expressed by friends, family, and the public regarding Shelia Shaner's abduction (Monday). In addition, we extend many thanks to the Garner Police Department, especially Detective Pappas, and the Chatham County emergency personnel who successfully found her early this morning. We are extremely grateful for her safe return home."

Anyone with information about a possible suspect is asked to call the Garner Police Department at (919) 772-8810.

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