REDDING: One arrested, one sought, after kidnap victim dumped in remote area of Shasta County
REDDING — A partially clothed woman who was reportedly kidnapped from the City of Redding was found and rescued in Shasta County, Monday, Nov. 27.
A group out looking for a Christmas tree to chop down discovered the victim in a rural, wooded area east of Eskimo Hill near Hat Creek, about fifty miles east of Redding, according to officials.
Overnight temperatures in the area where the victim was discovered were reported to be in the very low 30’s, with sporadic rain and snow throughout the evening and following morning.
The 25-year-old Redding resident, who was stripped of all her clothing but a pair of shorts, was found the day after she was kidnapped by a Redding couple, Redding Police Captain Eric Wallace explained in a written press release the day after the victim’s safe recovery.
Nearly naked and freezing, “the victim sought shelter in a burned-out tree, drank water from a mud puddle, and survived through the night into the next day,” until she was finally rescued, said Wallace.
The victim, whose name has not been released by officials to protect her identity, was suffering from exposure and later admitted to a Redding area hospital.
The victim’s condition has not been updated since her recovery and hospitalization; however, she is expected to fully recover.
The attempted murder and kidnapping investigation began when SHASCOM emergency dispatchers received an urgent 911 call from the group reporting the victim’s discovery in the remote and rugged mountainous area.
The area where the group found the victim was about six miles off Highway 44.
When Shasta County sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found the victim and immediately summoned medical personnel to evaluate and treat the woman, who was suffering from hypothermia and exhaustion.
The victim later told investigators she was forcibly taken from the area of Mistletoe Lane and Victor Avenue in Redding the previous afternoon.
A Redding couple, identified by officials as 33-year-old, Johanna Ann Knighten and 44-year-old, Fred Sanderson – who were both acquaintances of the victim – were quickly identified by officials during the subsequent investigation.
The victim said she was taken against her will by Knighten and Sanderson, who believed she had stolen narcotics from them.
Officials did not specify the type or amount of narcotics the victim was accused of stealing or what led the alleged suspects to believe she had stolen from them.
The victim told investigating officers that after she was kidnapped, Knighten drove her and Sanderson in Knighten’s white van to the rural area, while Sanderson physically assaulted her and held her against her will.
When they arrived in the remote location more than one hour later, Sanderson and Knighten forced the victim to undress – leaving her wearing only a pair of shorts – before abandoning her in the mountains more than six miles off Highway 44.
According to Wallace, “The victim did not know where she was, had no means of communication, and could find no way of summoning help.”
Two days after the kidnapping, on Tuesday, Nov. 28, Redding police officers spotted Knighten driving the van used in the kidnapping as she was driving in the downtown Redding area.
She was subsequently arrested without incident, interviewed and later booked into Shasta County Jail in Redding on suspicion of first-degree attempted murder, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy. She remains in custody, held on $500,000 bail.
Sanderson has not yet been located or arrested and he is being sought for questioning. Officials have described him as a white male, 6’2” tall, 250 pounds with short or shaved blond hair and blue eyes.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation or who knows Sanderson’s whereabouts, is urged to immediately contact the Redding Police Department at (530) 225-4200. Callers can remain anonymous.
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Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.