Good News: Carlesha Freeland-Gaither Found Alive

[Content Note: Abduction; violence; sexual assault. Video may begin playing automatically at second link.]

Yesterday I mentioned that 22-year-old Carlesha Freeland-Gaither had been abducted off a Philadelphia street last weekend, her abduction caught on camera, and police and her family desperately searching for her and asking the public for help.

Last night, Freeland-Gaither was found, being held by the man who abducted her. She had some physical injuries, from which she is expected to make a full recovery. She is also emotionally traumatized, and I hope she will have all the support and access to care she needs to process what was done to her.

I am filled with an abundance of joy and relief that she was found alive. I am so happy for her, not for what she has gone through but that she has survived it, and for her family and friends, who must be overwhelmed with emotion.

Delvin Barnes, the 37-year-old man who abducted Freeland-Gaither, has a history of violence against women. He recently released from prison after being convicted for a 2005 assault on his estranged wife, during which he held her captive, beat her, raped her, and attacked her parents when they tried to rescue her.

Soon after getting out of prison, Barnes abducted, raped, and tortured a 16-year-old girl, whom he released. DNA matched him to the crime, and a warrant was issued for his arrest on October 28. Presumably, he will now be charged with that assault as well as the assault on Freeland-Gaither.

Freeland-Gaither was rescued in part because of an anonymous woman who found a trash bag in her driveway, which contained "a receipt from an ACME supermarket in Northeast Philadelphia, a bag of Herr's potato chips, and shattered glass." (Freeland-Gaither had shattered the car's rear passenger window trying to get away.) After realizing the garbage may have been related to the abduction, the woman called police, who then "were able to use the receipt to hone in on the supermarket and gather clear surveillance video of Barnes from the day of the attack."

Police were also able to track Barnes' vehicle, in which he abducted and held Freeland-Gaither, using "a GPS device placed inside the vehicle by the car dealership where it was purchased...because Barnes had poor credit."

It's interesting, ahem, that the law allows for GPS installations because a man has bad credit, but would not allow the same because a man has a history of abducting and torturing women. Priorities.

Anyway. I am glad that Carlesha Freeland-Gaither is safe. She survived being held captive, but surviving will be something she does for the rest of her life. I wish her strength and safety and peace, and some measure of justice, whatever that looks like for her.

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