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5 ways to maximize your chances of survival in a kidnapping situation: experts

Not everyone who is kidnapped or goes missing is found alive or rescued safely, but those who do survive are sometimes saved by their own resourcefulness and resourcefulness.

If you suspect you are being held against your will or in danger of being kidnapped, whether for ransom or the kidnapper’s other nefarious motives, remain as calm as possible and remember these tips from law enforcement experts.

After nearly 17 years on the run, federal marshals arrested a Massachusetts fugitive notorious as the “Bad Breath Rapist,” a man who earned the peculiar nickname because of his keen memory for his alleged victims, on Tuesday.

As previously reported by Fox News Digital, suspect Tuyen Kit Le, now 55, is accused of wearing a mask and breaking into the home of a waiter at a family-owned restaurant in Quincy, tying her to her bed at knifepoint and sexually assaulting her.

Massachusetts fugitive dubbed “the Bad Breath Rapist” arrested after going on the run nearly 17 years ago

The victim identified the suspect after noticing his distinctive breath odor, and he was charged with kidnapping and raping the woman in 2005. He avoided sentencing but will serve his sentence and face additional charges after his arrest this week.

Even if you are restrained or blindfolded, it’s important to remember small details about the situation and the kidnapper, but ultimately, the best way to stay safe is to remain vigilant to prevent an abduction altogether.

Tuen Kit Lee booking photo. (Massachusetts State Police)

1. Maintain situational awareness.

Former FBI special agent Bill Daly told Fox News Digital that it’s essential to remain vigilant at all times, even on well-traveled routes and in familiar places.

Dailey said people should never let strangers within five feet of each other, or within arm’s reach.

“It’s different downtown,” Dailey said. “If you’re in a crowded area, your chances of being kidnapped are low. If you’re in a secluded area, your chances of being kidnapped are much more severe.”

“What does it mean to be unaware of your surroundings? Simple things like headphones, earbuds, or being on a phone,” Daily said. “I understand that some people can be unaware of their surroundings when they’re walking down the sidewalk, but if they’re unfamiliar with the area, they need to turn it off.”

Maintaining situational awareness means knowing when it’s best to avoid certain routes or times of day, according to Michael Virden, a former Secret Service agent and founder and CEO of the Lake Forest Group.

“We had a tragic incident at the University of Georgia with the murder of nursing student Laken Riley. [while jogging] “I left women alone,” Vaden recalled. “I don’t want to sound like a misogyny, but if you’re a woman and you’re alone, you’re a victim.”

Daly also said people should never get into cars driven by strangers, even if they are marked as taxis.

“People who get kidnapped at airports get into a taxi, but it’s not a taxi,” Daly said, noting that the majority of these incidents happen outside the U.S. “I travel a lot. When I leave the airport, I call an Uber or a Lyft. I don’t care if it looks like a taxi. I don’t know if it’s a taxi until I get to the taxi rank.”

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Laken Riley poses for a photo she posted to Facebook.

Laken Riley, a nursing student at the University of Georgia, was found dead near a lake on campus on February 22nd. (Laken Riley/Facebook)

2. Don’t make a scene and get taken elsewhere.

Daly told Fox News Digital that every effort should be made to prevent kidnappers from taking people elsewhere, and that the first few minutes of a kidnapping are the most critical.

“If you find yourself in a parking lot and someone is confronting you or trying to take your car, or you realize you’ve been taken into your car, your best bet is to run instead of thinking, ‘Maybe I can get away somewhere else,'” says Daly. “You’re more likely to be safe in a public place than in a secluded spot.”

A former FBI special agent said most kidnappings in the US are not for ransom but for “sexual assault or violence that may result in death.”

“You have to scream and yell to get attention,” Daly said. “If you’re in a secluded area, you’re better off fighting back.”

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Teenage Girl

Remaining calm if kidnapped can improve your chances of survival, said former Secret Service agent Michael Virden. (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Werden said it’s important to know when you’re overwhelmed, because continuing to fight at that point could make the situation worse.

“If you’re fighting a woman and she’s twice your size, the woman can fight, but there’s a point of no return or diminishing returns and it can make things worse,” Varden said. “I do a lot of training at schools for free. I wouldn’t tell a third-grader to fight someone with a gun, but I would tell an adult to fight someone with a gun.”

Daly suggested that if you find yourself pushed into a car, make some noise at traffic lights, if possible, to get other drivers’ attention.

It wouldn’t take a single blow, but it’s possible to break a car window with a metal shard from a seat belt, he says. It’s much harder to escape from the trunk of a car, but some models have rear headlights that can be reached from inside the car and kicked out, allowing a victim to get out and call for help.

3. If you are caught in a kidnapper’s trap, be aware of your surroundings.

Even if you are blindfolded, making notes about where you are being taken and who is kidnapping you may help you escape or, like the victim of the bad breath rapist, provide vital information to the police.

“If you’re in the trunk of a car, you need to be aware of what’s going on outside,” Virden told Fox News Digital. “If the car makes a turn, how many turns does it make? That’s very important in determining where it’s going to take you.”

“Listen for anything nearby. Is there a train nearby? Are there cars nearby? Any sounds, if you can hear them, take note of them,” Werden said. “If you smell something, is it a paper mill or a bakery? These are all important. Are you in the country or the city?”

Abandoned Highway

If you are abducted, try to record as many details as possible to determine where you are going and what your location is like. (iStock)

“Why did this person kidnap you? Is it for ransom or is it to sexually assault you? That might help you,” Varden said. “If it’s for ransom, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. If someone kidnaps you and their only purpose is to hurt you, then you need to fight.”

If you are forcibly confined in your own home, being aware of your surroundings may help you escape.

4. Stay calm.

Being kidnapped is undoubtedly an extremely stressful situation, but staying as calm as possible can improve your chances of escaping unharmed, both experts said.

“If you’re still conscious, you still have all your faculties,” Varden says. “If you remain calm and don’t cry or yell at the abductor, he’ll notice, and that may help the relationship between you and the abductor.”

Being prepared for the worst will help you stay calm when it does happen, and Werden recommends everyone take a self-defense class, practice setting up and using emergency services on their cell phone, and learn trendy hand gestures to discreetly let others know you need help.

The “help signal” was created early in the COVID-19 outbreak by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, a public organization focused on gender equality. The signal is used as a simple, unobtrusive way for people to indicate they need help, especially in domestic violence situations.

This prompt is done by turning the palm outwards, placing the thumb on top of the palm, and bringing the fingers over the thumb to “pinch” it.

5. Use your cell phone if possible.

Earlier this month, Texas Women Fox News Digital previously reported that a woman who was stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire was abducted and sexually assaulted by a suspect who stopped his car and offered to help.

According to police, the suspect lured the woman into his car under the pretense of taking her to get her tires changed, then used the child lock to lock her inside and assaulted her in the parking lot of his nearby apartment complex.

The woman had sent a message to a friend with her location before fleeing the vehicle, which Austin police said helped expedite the search after the woman fled the vehicle.

Child abducted from state park for 47 hours and survived, credited with perfect evidence against abductor

Plug your iPhone into the charger next to your surge protector.

Make sure you set up a shortcut on your cell phone to call emergency services, Werden says. (CyberGuy.com)

The emergency settings should include an emergency services, or 911 speed dial option, Verden said.

If you’re kidnapped and have a cell phone, you can call authorities or loved ones and “keep the phone line open so they can hear what’s going on,” Virden said.

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The majority of kidnapping victims in the United States are children. According to FBI data, a child is abducted or goes missing every 40 seconds in the United States.

Daly encouraged parents to download the FBI’s Child ID app, which allows them to store photos and information that can be shared with police if their child goes missing, and gives them specific instructions on what to do in those first critical hours after a child goes missing.

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