Mariana Cracogna's tale of survival: her rescuer speaks
Details alleged kidnapping, beating and rescue on Highway 16
Jasmine Clarke says her first thought had been that the young woman at the side of the road had been injured in a car accident.
It was dusk on Sunday night, just east of Saskatoon on Highway 16, when Clarke and her boyfriend spotted the young woman at the side of the road.
They pulled over their blue Taurus and Clarke rolled down her window.
"She had dark hair, she had a blue sweater on and a pair of grey track pants. She looked nothing, she wasn't healthy at all. Her eyes were bleeding, they were swollen, she had blood coming from her face, her hands were full of blood. She didn't look good," Clarke said.
She said her name was Mariana Cracogna, and that she had been kidnapped by ex-fiancé Clint McLaughlin on Friday.
Cracogna said the ordeal started when she went to return her engagement ring.
"At that point he had gotten very angry," Clarke said.
She chewed her way out of the tonneau cover on Eighth Street and had gotten out when he stopped at a red light.- Jasmine Clarke
"Then he tied her up and he took her to her own truck, opened the tarp on the back and stuck her in the back of the truck and said they started driving. She chewed her way out of the tonneau cover on Eighth Street and had gotten out when he stopped at a red light and tried to get away, but he had seen her and put her back in."
By this point, late afternoon Friday, city police had reports that Cracogna was missing and had issued an alert to all officers. Word of the possible abduction spread on Facebook and Twitter.
Electronic bracelet cut off, phone tossed in a pond
Cracogna told Clarke that McLaughlin drove aimlessly through the city and then into the country. At one point, he abandoned the truck and headed into the bush with Cracogna in tow.
The next 48 hours were a terrifying, painful blur, Cracogna told her.
"They walked. She said they slept in bush to bush to bush, he beat her the whole, entire way," Cracogna told her.
"At one point, she remembers passing out and coming to, with bleeding eyes. She said that the last bush they were in, he was the one who said he had to lay down and rest. So she let him fall asleep, and at this point he seemed just disorientated from not eating and drinking and he was mumbling and she couldn't understand what he was saying," Clarke said.
It was her time to get herself to the highway.—Jasmine Clarke
"She knew at point he wasn't in any shape to get up and move, and it was her time to get herself to the highway."
There, she flagged down Clarke.
A rescue and an arrest
Within hours, police and RCMP swarmed the countryside and came across McLaughlin, collapsed near a country road. He was arrested.
McLaughlin appeared in court today, charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful confinement and breach of recognizance.
He returns to court next week.
Cracogna is back home now, recovering from her ordeal.