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Hillsborough deputies search for kidnapping suspect after victim escaped

A gas station clerk helped save the victim
Posted at 3:46 PM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 23:25:24-04

TAMPA, Fla. — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is searching for a man who kidnapped and physically battered a victim. The sheriff's office said the victim was able to escape and get help.

The sheriff's office said on Sunday, May 9, around 11 a.m., a physical altercation between Cody Jackson, 32, and the victim took place at a home in Seffner.

Officials said at one point, Jackson grabbed a piece of wood and struck the victim on the head, causing serious injuries to the victim's head and body.

Jackson forced the victim into a 2003 silver Mitsubishi Eclipse and drove away. The sheriff's office said at some point, he stopped the vehicle and tied the victim's ankles and wrists with extension cords.

Jackson drove to Citrus County and stopped at a gas station in Inverness. While Jackson was inside, the victim was able to escape and ask for help, the sheriff's office said.

"At that point, that's where the victim saw their chance to survive and was able to break free from these restraints and get out of the car and ask for help," said Natalia Verdina, spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Rachel Craddock works as a clerk at the gas station. She said the victim ran to a side door and begged for help.

"She was banging on it saying 'help me, help me. He is going to kill me. He's right there. He's right there,'" said Craddock.

When Jackson realized the victim had escaped, he left the gas station. The vehicle was found near the intersection of US 41 North and Sunset Lane in Tampa.

"Extension cords around her arms and she had matted hair with blood. All I could think of was to get her safe into the store with me," said Craddock.

"Detectives are still investigating and determining what led to this physical fight because of the victim and Marsy's law, we can't disclose their exact relationship," said Verdina. "The victim and suspect, they did know each other."

The victim was taken to a hospital for her injuries.

“This man's actions are reprehensible. He was threatening this victim's life and it could have ended in tragedy had the victim not managed to escape just in time," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "This attack was targeted. However, given Jackson's violent behavior, we are urging anyone who comes in contact with him to please call us immediately. Please do not engage with the suspect, for he may be armed with a weapon."

Jackson is described as 5'9", weighs 165 pounds and has several tattoos, including one that reads "Pure Bred" on his stomach.

    "The suspect is clearly very dangerous so we're asking anyone who spots him, sees him please do not engage. We believe he may be armed with a weapon so please contact authorities, call 911, call the sheriff's office," said Verdina.

    Anyone with information on Jackson's whereabouts is asked to contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at (813) 247-8200.