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One warm spring day, Jennifer was buckling her 21-month-old son and 9-month-old daughter into their stroller for a walk. All of a sudden a man appeared. His name was Matthew Charles Gibson, a violent sex offender who had just escaped from jail after being arrested for raping a 15-year-old girl. He was covered in cuts and soaking wet after crawling over a razor wire fence and crossing a river. Jennifer says Gibson asked if her husband was home. Startled, she said no, and he asked to go inside her home so she could clean the blood off of him. Terrified, Jennifer brought her children inside and washed the blood off Gibson. Next he demanded clean clothes and when Jennifer went to the closet, he began choking her.

"I started to feel like I was going to pass out," Jennifer says. "I thought, 'This is it.' And I just kept looking into his eyes and thinking that I'm dead now. As my body started to go limp, he let me go. Then I was hysterical…begging and pleading for my life, begging and pleading for my children's lives." Gibson then dragged Jennifer into the kitchen where he held a butcher knife to her throat and her son's throat. He then dragged her into the bedroom and sexually assaulted her.

Then, Jennifer says, "A peace came over me. A calm came over me. I started to remember an Oprah Show that I had seen a few months earlier about a lady who got away from her attacker. There was a checklist. And I could see that checklist in my mind of the different things that you need to do to get away from your kidnapper."
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FROM: Held Hostage by the Accused Atlanta Spree Killer: How Ashley Smith Survived
Published on September 28, 2005

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