FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) One of the men arrested for carjacking and kidnapping a woman from her minivan then robbing and sexually assaulting her has admitted to his role.
Henry Wright, Jr., 25, of Fort Wayne, pleaded guilty in Whitley Circuit Court on Monday to charges of rape, kidnapping and robbery related to a Dec. 15 incident.
“This is a very good resolution to this case,” said Whitley County Prosecutor Matthew Rentschler. “We are very pleased for the victim and her family that we were able to achieve this outcome.”
Police were called just before 6:30 p.m. to the intersection of Main and Van Buren streets in Columbia City after a woman pulled over her red minivan and told police she’d been abducted by several men and possibly sexually assaulted.
According to court documents, the woman told police while stopped at a South Whitley train crossing, her minivan was struck from behind several times. When she got out to check it out, the woman told police two men got out of a vehicle and struck her in the face before they ordered her back into the minivan and got into with her.
The woman told the men she was willing to transfer money to her account and get money from an ATM for them, the affidavit said, and she directed them to an ATM near the Columbia City courthouse. There, she gave one of the men her pin number and phone, the affidavit said.
While the one man was pulling money from the ATM ($200), the other man sexually assaulted her inside the car, the affidavit said.
When the man returned to the car, the woman told police he used her phone call someone to pick them up, the affidavit said. The men then forced the woman to the rear seat of the van and told her to count to 50 while they fled, the affidavit said.
The same night, Fort Wayne Police picked up a black Dodge and the three suspects inside, each of whom – Camara J. Benson, 21; Dennis L. Thomas, 43; and Wright – were taken into custody. Officers with that department said they’d followed “pings” on one of the suspect’s phones to follow them from Columbia City to South Whitley to Fort Wayne, the affidavit said.
During an interview with police, Thomas said he picked up Wright and Benson from a Fort Wayne home and drove them to Columbia City and later to South Whitley where police said he confirmed the woman’s story. Thomas, charged with aiding in a kidnapping, told police he did not know what Wright and Benson’s plan that night was and said he did not know they had a gun. He said at one point, he yelled out to them, “What are you all doing?” and “Oh my God, what is going on?”
The cases against Thomas and Benson are both still pending.
At his sentencing hearing May 16, Wright could face up to 80 years in prison.