Charges: Alexandria Teen Held in Closet, Assaulted Multiple Times During Captivity

September 07, 2017 10:42 PM

The 15-year-old Alexandria girl who was found Tuesday after being kidnapped and spending nearly a month in captivity told investigators her alleged captors mostly held her in a closet outfitted with a television and a fan, assaulted her and transported her in a large duffle bag. 

The girl, whom KSTP will no longer identify because police allege she was the victim of sexual assault, told investigators she believed one of her captors attempted to drown her in a bathtub before she was able to fight him off. Another forced her from a bucket she was standing on while she had a rope or cord around her neck, and she described a period during which she could not breathe.


The teenager was at her home alone the evening of Aug. 8 when the father of her friend arrived and said he needed help with his son who had been acting up. That man, Thomas Jay Barker, now has officially been charged with kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct, assault and false imprisonment.

“He’s known us since my kids were in diapers. And so we’ve known each other that long. But I stopped talking to him years ago. Just because all the trouble he caused,” said the victim's mother when asked how the family knew Barker.

Two other men connected to the nearly one-month long capture of the teenager – Josuhua Lee Holby and Steven Michael Samuel Powers – face charges of kidnapping and false imprisonment; Powers also is charged with criminal sexual conduct, according to the criminal charges filed Thursday in Douglas County Court.

RELATED: Criminal Sexual Conduct, Kidnapping Among Pending Charges for 3 in Alleged Alexandria Teen Assault

The victim relayed the details of what occurred over the course of the previous month to police while in an ambulance after she had seized an opportunity to run when her captors had left her alone. She ran for safety, and swam across parts of Thompson Lake. She emerged from a field onto the driveway of a Barrett man, who recognized her from missing persons fliers, according to court documents, and called police.

“I’m very, very thankful that she took the chance where she could. Because it could have ended very bad,” the 15-year-old's mother told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

Chopper 5: Footage Shows Area Where Missing Alexandria Teen Escaped Her Abductors

"(Jane Doe) told (the man) that she needed cops "now" because she had been kidnapped and had to swim across a lake to escape," the documents say.

The teenager told investigators during the ambulance ride that she had expected Barker to take her to an Alexandria residence the evening of Aug. 8, but he instead drove her to his residence in Carlos, restrained her with zip-ties, brandished a weapon while threatening to kill her and sexually assaulted her. Barker shared the Carlos residence with Holby, the documents say.

RELATED: Police Say Acquaintance, 2 Others Kidnapped, Assaulted Alexandria Teenager

She said that she believed Barker attempted to drown her in a bathtub while she was restrained, but she fought and Barker, who suffers from what is believed to be cerebral palsy, gave up. On another occasion, she told police, she was placed in the bathtub while in a duffle bag but was able to stick her head out of a hole.

The documents state that in a third incident, the teenager was made to stand atop a bucket while she had a rope or cord around her neck, while Holby forced her off the bucket, causing her to be unable to breathe for a period of time.

At one point she was transported in a duffle bag to another home that turned out to be in nearby Barrett, she said, according to court documents. 

She told investigators she was sexually assaulted by Barker and Powers during the 28-day captivity, but Holby did not sexually assault her. 

After she escaped and found the Barrett man about 1:41 p.m. Tuesday, she alerted him that a dark vehicle passing by his driveway was being driven by one of her captors. Melchert told arriving authorities, who pulled the vehicle over and arrested Powers, the documents say. 

At about 5:04 p.m. a Minnesota State Patrol trooper received an alert that a green 1995 Nissan pickup was in the area, and its occupants were wanted in connection to a Douglas County kidnapping. Less than a minute later, the pickup passed the trooper on Highway 28 between Glenwood and Starbuck, the documents say. The trooper called for backup, and officers executed a "high-risk" stop, during which they removed Barker and Holby from the vehicle at gunpoint and took them to Douglas County Jail. 

The three men apparently left the teenager alone in the home and had gone to a gas station where they ordered a pizza. 

Barker, 32, is charged with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of second-degree assault and one count of false imprisonment. He faces a maximum 150 years in prison and/or $199,000 in fines.

Powers, 20, is charged with one count of kidnapping, one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of false imprisonment. He faces a maximum 73 years in prison and/or $95,000 in fines. 

Holby, 31, is charged with two counts of kidnapping and one count of false imprisonment. He faces up to 83 years in prison and/or $105,000 in fines. 


Michael Oakes

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