A man who allegedly kidnapped a woman and her child in New Hampshire, drove them to Vermont and sexually assaulted the woman in a hotel room in front of her 5-year-old son is being held on $2 million bail after he was arrested Sunday afternoon following a car chase.
Everett Simpson, 41, a former Vermont resident, was arraigned from a Pennsylvania hospital room on Monday afternoon after he allegedly forced the two into their own car in the parking lot of The Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester on Saturday afternoon.
The victim told investigators she was shopping at the mall with her son, and when she went outside to leave around 12:45 p.m., Simpson pushed her into her vehicle and drove off with both of them inside.
As they drove, Simpson reportedly told the woman he had been on the run for three days after escaping from a substance abuse rehab facility in Vermont and was looking for his wife, who he had heard was cheating on him.
They drove north into Vermont, where the woman told investigators Simpson made her get out of the car at one point and knock on the door of a house to see if his wife was inside. She said at one point he pulled over to the side of the road and tried to sexually assault her in the car. She called out to some joggers, and as they approached the vehicle, Simpson drove off.
From there, he allegedly brought the woman and her son to a Comfort Inn in White River Junction, Vermont.
Simpson then forced the woman to rent a room, where he raped her in front of her 5-year-old son, according to a federal criminal complaint. The victims were subsequently released and the woman called police around 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Simpson was a stranger to the woman and her child, according to investigators.
Less than 24 hours later, the car Simpson was driving was detected by an automatic license plate recognition system in Upper Darby Township, Pennsylvania. Authorities said Simpson ditched that car and took another before he was finally captured by police after crashing his vehicle and taken to a hospital.
"They got a report of another car theft, essentially a woman who had been carjacked," Vermont State Police Trooper Adam Silverman said in a press conference. "She was unloading groceries from her car and this guy jumps in her car as she's standing there with the grocery bags in her hands and drives off."
Authorities said Simpson put up a fight and had to be tased into compliance.
"This guy is an animal, this guy is a dirtball, this guy is a scumbag, period," said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood. "And he is a tremendous danger to the community, so am I glad he's off the street? Absolutely."
Simpson was arraigned on a federal kidnapping charge, which carries a penalty of up to life in prison. He was ordered to be held on $2 million cash-only bail. It's unclear if he has an attorney. His next court appearance is Jan. 17.
Manchester, New Hampshire residents say they're shaken by the news of the kidnapping, which police say took place in broad daylight.
"But daylight, you figure you'd be safe," Pauleen Durocher said. "It's so many crazy, crazy people around, it's ridiculous."
The crime is a chilling reminder that even in public places, safety is never guaranteed.
"You think it could never happen to me, it could never happen this close to home, but then it does and it hits you hard," said Manchester resident Ryan Philbert, who has a 12-year-old daughter.
"It is disappointing but the world has changed and we need to change with it," added Manchester resident said Betty Simoneau.