Hostage, negotiator share intertwined stories from Waterloo standoff

Dawn King's estranged husband took her hostage in 2010. Trent Kiefer (left) was one of the hostage negotiators to respond.

WATERLOO, Ind. (WANE) – Dawn King and Trent Kiefer have never met.  But in 2010, their paths crossed in a dramatic way.  She was taken hostage in Waterloo and he responded with the Indiana State Police to assist in negotiations.

It’s been three and a half years since King’s husband Wayne took her hostage in their Waterloo home.  King tries not to talk about the situation.  Kiefer, the assistant negotiator for ISP in the incident, has never spoken of the incident publicly.

Early in 2010, King had placed a protective order on her estranged husband.  She said she tried to stay away, but on March 26 he caught her and her daughter Makayla home alone.

“He physically busts in the windshield of the car then he busts in the side window and at that point in time, I told Makayla just to run,” Dawn said.  “He drug me out of the car and drug me into the house.”

At the time, Kiefer was new to ISP’s hostage negotiation team.

“As I’m going up there, I’m trying to prepare in my mind as to what am I going to talk to this person about,” Kiefer said.

As authorities headed to the home, King said her husband Wayne grabbed a shotgun.

“He raised the gun up to my chest and we were at arms length away and I just pushed it down,” King said.  “So he starts shooting at my feet and my legs.  He shot my right foot and shot me in the tibia of my left leg.  At that point in time, that’s when the cops showed up.”

Kiefer and other SWAT crews get on scene.  The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department transferred negotiations to ISP.

“I was sitting beside the negotiator, the primary.  I was assisting by taking notes, throwing out ideas, and what direction the hostage taker might be going and where we might go with him,” Kiefer explained.

Six hours went by.  Authorities talked with both Wayne and Dawn King over the phone.  Dawn was going in and out of consciousness, but negotiators said they didn’t know her exact condition.  Once authorities figured out that her condition was deteriorating, they decided to act.

“I just prayed to God that if it was my time to go, then let me go,” King said.  “At that time Wayne walked over to the window and he was shot by the sniper.  So if anybody out there thinks there isn’t a God, there is and he will help you.”

Three and a half years later, King’s emotional and physical scars are a daily battle.  She’s been through 10 surgeries.  Surgeons had to amputate her left leg two inches below the knee.  She said she lost her job and her home was recently foreclosed.

King said she hasn’t talked to anyone about the incident since her interview with 15 Finds Out two months after it happened.

“Stuff triggers…triggers that set you off and you’ll have a panic attack.  It’s been rough on me for a while but I’m kind of getting that under control now,” King said.

The former hostage shared advise and encouragement to anybody who finds him or herself in a similar situation.

“I would say just be as compliant as you can at the time because these people are not in the right state of mind,” she said.  “You do not need to be treated badly in any sort of way.  Whether it be verbal, physical or mental, nobody needs to be treated like that.  That’s not love.”

She continued, “If nothing else good comes out of this, if I could just help a person get out of a situation and not get hurt or change someone’s life, then that’s why I’m doing it.  It’s for no other reason.”

Kiefer had the following message for Dawn:

“I’m glad she’s here.  I’m glad we’re able to help,” he said.

Kiefer admits there were some communication problems during the hostage negotiations.  But none he said that affected the outcome of the standoff.

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