Florida gas station clerk rescues bloodied, kidnapped woman, had to ‘get her safe into the store with me'

Rachel Craddock told FOX Tampa Bay that she was working on Sunday afternoon when a man accused of beating and forcing a woman inside a vehicle stopped at the Citgo gas station in Inverness, located 76 miles north of Tampa. The man, identified by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office as Cody Jackson, struck the woman inside a home in Seffner with a piece of wood to the head. 

He then forced her into a car and drove away, authorities said. At one point he stopped and tied her ankles and wrists with extension cords, authorities said. He then drove to the gas station. 

When he went inside, the woman broke free from the restraints and ran toward a side door in the gas station. 

“He seen [sic] the woman that he had bound in the car escape from the car and he started running out the door,” Craddock told the news station. “While he was running out the door she was running to my private door that was locked.”

“She was banging on it saying ‘Help me, help me. He’s going to kill me!'” she added. “I hurried up and unlocked the door and I pulled her in and I locked that door.”

Craddock then called 911. She said noticed the woman had a gash on her head. 

“All I could think was get her safe into the store with me,” she said. 

Jackson got back in the car and took off and ditched it in Tampa, the news outlet reported. He remains on the run and may be armed, authorities said. 

“This man’s actions are reprehensible. He was threatening this victim’s life and it could have ended in tragedy had the victim not managed to escape just in time,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “This attack was targeted. However, given Jackson’s violent behavior, we are urging anyone who comes in contact with him to please call us immediately. Please do not engage with the suspect, for he may be armed with a weapon.”

Anyone with information on Jackson’s whereabouts is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813-247-8200.

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