A 25-year-old nursing student is speaking out after she escaped her kidnapper by jumping out of the trunk of her own moving car — a plan she concocted after remembering a video she had seen on Facebook.
Brittany Diggs appeared on the Today show Monday, describing the terrifying ordeal she experienced on Tuesday when a man approached her with a gun and demanded money while she was walking to her apartment in Birmingham.
When the student said she didn’t have any money, the man forced her into her Nissan Altima and told her to drive him to another part of town.
“He was like, ‘Well, since you don’t have any money, you’re going to help me get money,’ ” she said.
After unsuccessfully trying to rob two couples, the suspect demanded Diggs check her trunk before telling her to get inside, she said.
The kidnapper then found her wallet and demanded her PIN numbers to withdraw cash from ATMs, threatening to kill her if she didn’t comply.
She recalled, “Every other thing he said was ‘or I’m going to kill you.’ “
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The suspect became increasingly frustrated after he failed to get cash at several ATMs. He stopped at a gas station to try another, and Diggs said panic started to set in.
“My bigger fear was he was gonna drive this car into a river and I’m going to drown here in this trunk,” she said.
Then the student remembered a Facebook video describing how to use a latch to open a car trunk from the inside. She used the light on her insulin pump to find the latch in the darkness and waited for her kidnapper to get back into the vehicle.
When the suspect got back into the car, he pulled out much faster than Diggs said she expected. Still, she pulled the latch and tumbled out of the trunk, a harrowing escape that was caught on the gas station’s security cameras. She was able to run into the gas station store to hide while the owner called police.
With the suspect still at large, Diggs doesn’t feel safe enough to return to her apartment.
“I try to put it in the back of my head so I can just get through the day, but that was the scariest thing I ever had to deal with,” she said. “It was just a lot because I’m not from here and I don’t have a support system down here besides my roommate. I just felt like it was a lot.”
A GoFundMe page has been created to help Diggs pay for moving, hospital fees and attorney costs.