EXCLUSIVE: Kidnapping Survivor Thrown into AR River Tells Her Story

The woman had witnessed a deadly shooting

LONOKE COUNTY, Ark. - For the first time in nearly a month, the woman that was kidnapped and thrown into a freezing river after witnessing a deadly shooting is sharing her story of survival.

The 42-year-old woman, whose name we're not releasing because of safety concerns, says she doesn't know how to swim.

Early Christmas morning, two men stormed a Lonoke County home and 'began to shoot at the people' on Johnson Rd. in Scott, according to the Lonoke County Sheriff's Office. The woman was inside the home.

Arlin Wayne Nugent, 49, was shot and died before deputies could get to the home. The other shooting victim has serious injuries. 

"Arlin came to bedroom door asking [second shooting victim] to come out cause there was a situation," the woman told our reporter Mitch McCoy exclusively. "The instant he went out the room I heard gunfire."

The woman says she went into hiding from the men and called 911 [Go to the bottom of this story to listen to the 911 call audio file].

"One shooter found me and dragged me out of the house but cut [shooting victim's] throat on the way out," she says.

Lonoke County deputies say the woman was then kidnapped from the home.

"The shooters drove me to bridge and I asked could I pray and was told on my way down," she says.

Little Rock Police say the woman was thrown from I-430 in Little Rock into the Arkansas River.

"Luckily, the water was shallow," she says. "Tried to paddle against current to the lit up park. It wasn't working so I prayed and at that moment I felt something touch my head and it was grass," she says.

The woman says she couldn't walk, so she crawled into a pile of leaves and does not remember anything else.

Police say she was found wet from head to toe screaming for help.

In dashcam footage we obtained, you can see a Little Rock police officer give his jacket to her so she could stay warm.

"None of us deserved this," she says.

The woman was taken to the hospital where she was treated for hypothermia and released.

Shortly after the shooting, authorities arrested Richard Gilliam, 33, on charges of Capital Murder, Kidnapping, Attempt to Commit Capital Murder and Aggravated Residential Burglary. 

The second suspect Deymon Webb, 28, turned himself into Little Rock Police on similar charges. Both are being held at the Lonoke County jail on 1-million dollars bond each.


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