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Woman outsmarts and escapes kidnapper with help from Opelika Waffle House patrons

AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) - Auburn police say a woman's quick thinking helped her escape a potentially deadly situation. Investigators say she outsmarted her attacker and kidnapper by alerting strangers at the Opelika Waffle House who came to her aide.

Early Saturday morning, around 4:00, the Opelika Waffle House was open and serving customers. Police say 36-year-old Charles Waltman pulled into the parking lot and the female who was with Waltman was able to exit the vehicle alone and get it into the restaurant.  Police say her actions may have saved her life and helped her escape the man who had just assaulted and kidnapped her from her Auburn home.

"They had a prior relationship, and he came over to her residence. Once inside the situation quickly deteriorated resulting in her being taken at knife-point from her residence.  She was able to think and take action on her part to have others call the police for her. She did a great job getting herself help," explained Auburn Police Chief Paul Register.     

The woman was able to signal to the people inside Waffle House she needed help, and they called 911 for her.  Opelika police arrived on the scene, detaining Waltman. The victim was treated at the scene for her injuries from the assault.

"These charges do include domestic violence strangulation. So, the suspect did try to strangle this victim in this case," said Register.

Police won't say exactly how the woman was able to convince Waltman to let her go inside the Waffle House alone. However, investigators say her actions and the strangers who called the police helped her escape a potentially deadly situation.  

"She took measures to get just a few moments alone for a minute or two.  She got someone else to call the police.  She did a great job. She outsmarted him absolutely," Register said.  

Waltman has been charged with Attempted Murder, Kidnapping, and Domestic Violence by Strangulation.

Auburn police say this is not the first time Waltman has been arrested. Waltman was charged with DUI after police say he got into a single-vehicle accident along East University Drive and knocked down two power poles in Auburn last week.  The road was closed for several hours while power crews made the repairs. Auburn police are thankful nobody was injured in the accident.

Waltman remains behind bars on a $125,000 bond.



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