What started as a quick trip to get the mail, turned into a terrifying drive to Winnipeg, for a 25-year-old Portage woman and her 2-year-old daughter. The mother and daughter were the victims of a kidnapping, which was reported here last weekend.
On Friday, November 25th, Bailee Scott was at her mailbox on the east end of Portage when a man approached her vehicle, grasping his chest. She rolled down the window a little and he mentioned "heart attack". She had assumed her doors were locked, but before she knew it, he was in her car.
"He was telling me to drive. I told him I couldn't drive him, I had my daughter with me," says Scott. "He said he didn't care."
At this point, they began driving. Scott dialed 9-1-1 on her phone, but when she started telling the dispatcher that this man was in her car, he grabbed the phone. She started driving back to Portage, but he shouted at her to turn around. She turned onto the highway, toward Winnipeg, and he calmed down.
"There was nothing I could do. It's not like, if I said 'just take my car'. I didn't know if he's going to let me take my daughter out of the seat. She's buckled in good in the seat. So I just... drove."
Scott says she had put a movie on in the back seat, so her daughter wasn't aware of what was happening. They had a playdate scheduled for later on in the day, so she was asleep by the time they hit the highway.
As they drove, she decided to try and get a message to her husband, Blaise.
"I said to the man in the car, 'I have to phone my husband or he's going to phone the police and they'll come for us, because I'm just supposed to get the mail'. He said that was OK, to just make sure I told him that I'm just giving somebody a ride, everything will be fine, I was just giving him a ride," says Scott. "I call Blaise, and the second he answered the phone, I just said 'Hi, I'm just running this guy to Winnipeg really quick', which is nothing I would ever, ever do."
Scott can't imagine being on the other end of the call and the thought of it makes her sick. She is so thankful Blaise recognized something was up.
"So, he asked, 'Are you serious?' I said, 'Yep.' 'Are you OK?' And, I didn't answer him," says Scott. "I turned the volume down on my phone when I first called him so that you couldn't hear anything. Sometimes you can hear through the cell phone. He asked if I needed him to call someone and I said 'Yes. I have to turn my phone off now so it charges faster. I love you bye.'"
Scott says the man asked her to turn the phone off and he held the phone for the remainder of the ride. The man had apologized for having to do this, noting there were men chasing him who had taken him from Winnipeg and had brought him to Portage, and were trying to kill him. Later, he said the men were accusing him of stealing something that he never did. When he first approached her vehicle, she noticed there was a van nearby. The man claimed that van belonged to those men.
Scott says they got to Winnipeg, and the man wanted a taxi. They drove around to various hotel parking lots and grocery stores. They ended up at a Walmart where there were a bunch of cabs. He jumped out, and she took off. She instantly broke down.
"I didn't know for certain if he had a weapon or not, or what his full intentions were for the whole situation," says Scott. "Even if he didn't threaten me, this man jumped in my car and it was terrifying. I just felt so relieved that he was out and that my daughter and I were driving away."
On Sunday morning, Michael Stephen Klimchuk was arrested by the Winnipeg Police Service.