A Saskatchewan couple who found a badly beaten woman at the side of a road says they were unaware at the time of a police alert about an alleged abduction.
Jasmine Clarke and her fiancée, Thomas Humby, were returning to Saskatoon from Langenburg when they saw the woman on the side of the highway Sunday evening. Ms. Clarke told CKOM radio in Saskatoon that the woman flagged them down, so Ms. Clarke rolled down her window. She said she could tell the woman had been roughed up.
“I put my window down to ask her what was wrong and I noticed she was badly beaten,” Ms. Clarke said. “She could not see out of both eyes. They were bloody. They were bleeding. Her teeth were chipped.”
Police have said the woman and her alleged captor had been sleeping outside in a rural area east of Saskatoon since Friday without food and water. On Sunday, a farmer found a truck police believed the pair had been travelling in and a search team was brought in to look for them. It’s believed the woman escaped Sunday night.
“We didn’t know she was a missing person or anything. We just picked her up because she seemed like she really needed a ride,” Ms. Clarke said. “We were scared for her and scared that maybe he could possibly be right after her, so we got her in as quickly as we could and started driving away before he could get to the side of the road.”
They handed the woman a bottle of water, which she drank, and offered her food, which she declined. Ms. Clarke said the woman used Ms. Clarke’s cellphone to tearfully call her mother and tell her she was alive and safe.
During an emotional ride back to Saskatoon, Ms. Clarke said the woman told of her ordeal, saying she was tied up in the back of a truck and nearly escaped on a Saskatoon street.
“She was in pain from being hurt, but she calmed down after a bit and told me everything that was going on and kind of confided in me. I think she needed someone to talk to after being out there for so long,” Ms. Clarke recalled. “She kept looking back when we were driving to make sure he wasn’t behind us.”
Ms. Clarke said the woman calmed down after they’d been driving for a while and she realized they weren’t being followed.
Ms. Clarke and Mr. Humby drove the woman to meet family. Police were already there. CKOM spoke with the woman’s family Tuesday. They said she is out of hospital and recovering from her injuries. Her brother said she doesn’t ever want to talk about what happened.
Clinton McLaughlin faces numerous charges, including kidnapping and forcible confinement, and made his first court appearance Tuesday.
He sat hunched over in the prisoner’s box, his head in his hands, as a court worker and the Crown worked out a date for a bail hearing.
Mr. McLaughlin also faces charges involving a different woman and had been out on bail in that case. The Crown has applied to have those release conditions revoked and has indicated it will oppose his release in the Saskatoon case at a hearing June 11.
The identities of both alleged victims are under a publication ban.