7-th grader Dezirea Hughes of Dayton has identified herself as the 12-year-old who escaped an abduction Monday afternoon as she and her friend, Kathlynn Shepard, walked home from the bus stop. Shepard is still missing, and search crews continue to look for her in the surrounding area.
With her daughter back, Hughes’ mother, Jeanette Andrews, says life in the small community of Dayton will change.
"I didn’t believe the phone call. I thought I heard her say a man took me, I wasn’t sure if that’s what I really heard."
According to Hughes, she and Kathlynn Shepard were almost home when a man approached them in a red pick-up truck. She said he offered to let the girls make money mowing lawns.
"We thought he was going to take us there, but after a while he just kept going straight, and said we could use the phone at his house," Hughes said.
The girls were driven to a hog confinement outside of town, where Hughes says he zip-tied their hands and took Shepard away. That’s when Hughes ran.
"He left the gun on the floor so I took the gun and ran out into the woods and hid," she said.
Hughes then alerted authorities, who were able to begin the search for Shepard.
Aside from scratches on her arms and legs, Hughes is unharmed and eager to get back to school.