BELDING, Mich. (WOOD) — The woman who was carjacked by escaped convicted murderer Michael Elliot was safely back home in Belding Monday.
Elliot, 40, was convicted of four 1993 murders and was serving five life sentences in the Ionia Correctional Facility. Prison workers noticed he was missing around 9 p.m. Sunday, but say he may have escaped around 7 p.m.
Inside woodtv.com: Convicted murderer escapes from Ionia Correctional Facility
The woman, whose name 24 Hour News 8 is not releasing, was abducted in Ionia and then make the two-hour drive with Elliot to the Elkhart area of Indiana — just south of the Michigan state line — Sunday night.
The woman’s son said Monday he’s just happy she’s home.
“I’m just glad she wasn’t hurt because it could have gone so many different ways. I’m just grateful that she’s back home safe and sound,” the son, who 24 Hour News 8 has also decided not to name, said.
He said he was using his computer Sunday night, which is how he first heard about the prison escape. But he had no idea that the escaped killer had taken his mom — not until she called about 1 a.m. Monday, asking for his father.
“She just told me that she’s safe, but she wanted to talk to my dad,” the son said. “Immediately that kind of set off some red flags because, especially when the first thing she says is she’s safe.”
He asked where she was.
“She said she was in Indiana and that she’d been carjacked.”
He said his mother often worked long hours for the U.S. Census Bureau, which is what she was doing Sunday night. Police say she was in the 600 block of West Main Street in Ionia, about three and a half miles from the prison, when Elliot carjacked her.
“She was literally getting back in her car, had her door open, when he came up behind her and got in between her and the door and told her he had an emergency and needed a ride somewhere. She tried to argue with him that she wasn’t going to give up the car,” Michigan State Police Det. Sgt. Todd Petesen said.
Elliot forced her to make long drive to the Elkhart area with him. At a gas station in Middlebury, east of Elkhart, she managed to escape by locking herself in a bathroom and calling 911. Elliot left the gas station without her.
In recordings of the 911, the woman explains to a dispatcher what’s happening and then has to tell Elliot to wait:
Caller: He’s an escaped convict.
Dispatcher: From where?
Caller: Ionia Maximum. … For murder.
Dispatcher: Does he have any guns or weapons?
Caller: Box cutter and a hammer.
Dispatcher: You’re doing a good job. Did he tell you where he was planning on going?
Caller: He just wanted to get somewhere far from Ionia.
Dispatcher: He didn’t say where exactly. He just said somewhere far.
Caller: (to Elliot) Yes, occupied.
Caller: Yes. In a little bit. Sorry, it’s taking me longer than I thought.
Dispatcher: Is that him?
Dispatcher: (to partner) He’s knocking on the door saying “Let’s go.”
Dispatcher: I don’t want you to talk, OK, because I don’t want him to hear you talking. But stay on — in the bathroom, OK?
Caller: (whispers) OK.
Dispatcher: You are doing a very good job.
The woman was not hurt.
“I’m very proud of my mom, you know, because a lot of people in her type of situation wouldn’t be as calm and collected as she was,” her son said.
Police praised the woman for staying calm.
The woman’s red Jeep Liberty, in which Elliot left the gas station, was later found abandoned in Shipshewana, Ind. Elliot was arrested Monday evening west of Shipshewana.
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