Metropolitan Police officials are still investigating a freshman’s claim that he was abducted at gunpoint while walking home from a bar early Saturday morning.
The student, who was not harmed in the incident, said a male driver forced him into a car at gunpoint at 18th and G streets and proceeded to drive around the city for 20 minutes before returning him to Foggy Bottom.
MPD Det. Manuel Gaffney, who is investigating the student’s claim, said he has “very little to go by” and refused to say whether he thought the freshman’s story was true.
“I really don’t know,” he said. “I can’t comment on that right now.”
The freshman said he was abducted at 2 a.m. Saturday while returning to Thurston Hall from The Exchange, a bar located only blocks from the White House at 1716 G St. Gaffney said it would be “very unusual” for someone to be kidnapped in an area where the U.S. Secret Service maintains a 24-hour presence. He also noted that there is no apparent motive for the abduction.
“There’s always a motive behind that,” Gaffney said. “There’s always a reason. They just picked you up and dropped you off?”
After talking with MPD Saturday, the student did not talk to a detective again until Wednesday afternoon. MPD wanted to get more information from the student because he had been intoxicated during his first interview on Saturday morning, after the alleged abduction.
On Wednesday afternoon, before he talked with the student, MPD Det. Manuel Gaffney told The Hatchet that he had not been able to fully investigate the incident because the student has not contacted him since the weekend.
“I called him several times and left a message, left him my cell phone number, my pager,” Gaffney said. “He didn’t call back.” The student called MPD Wednesday after The Hatchet told him detectives wanted to talk to him again.
Before talking to MPD Wednesday, the student was under the impression that MPD had dropped its investigation of the incident. He said he thought MPD might have doubted his story because he had been drinking and was nervous following the abduction.
“When they were talking to me, I thought they believed me,” said the student, who requested anonymity because he still fears his abductor.
Over the weekend, University Police posted alerts in campus buildings detailing the alleged abduction. Rodney Johnson, director of GW Freshman and Parent Services, said his office has not received any calls from parents concerned about student safety.
“I’m a little bit surprised by that,” Johnson said.
According to the alert, a white male calling himself “Dan” discussed his personal problems while driving the student around the city. His problems concerned his childhood, abuse and hate for his parents, the student said.
“He was a weird, crazy guy, so I was scared,” the student said in an interview earlier this week. “He was pretty unpredictable. He didn’t seem stable, mentally.”
In an attempt to gain sympathy with the driver, the student said he fabricated his own personal problems with his parents. The driver then instructed the student to call his parents; the driver spoke to the father for several minutes, telling him that he picked up his son on a highway off-ramp and was driving him home.
“I had no idea what was going on,” said the father on Wednesday from his office in Tennessee.
Since the driver asked him where his son lived, the father thought that the man was bringing his son home after a night of drinking.
“At this point, all I assumed was that (my son) had a couple of drinks and was getting driven home by this guy, a Good Samaritan,” the father said.
The driver said “nothing unusual” during the short conversation, the father said. “I only found out afterwards.”
The father said he was on the phone with MPD and UPD for “half the night” after his son told him about the abduction, shortly after he was dropped off at 18th and G streets. The father said he believed his son’s story.
“He’s never made up anything at all, not more than any other kid,” he said. “No crazy stories. He wouldn’t have a reason to make it up.”