SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — The woman and her child who were held captive by a parole violator in Salem “absolutely” did the right thing by staying calm and biding time in order to figure out how to escape.
Christopher Hahn-Collins, 25, accused of kidnapping the woman and her child after breaking into her home, appeared in a Marion County courtroom Monday to officially hear the charges against him. A judge ordered him held without bail and set his next court date for December 20.
He was arrested at Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Salem after taking the woman and child to the store on Saturday. The woman mouthed the words “help me” to people in the store, who called for help.
“Friday afternoon, a woman comes home to her Southeast Salem home finds a man inside,” said Marion County Sheriff’s Lt. Chris Baldridge. “Basically for the next 24 hours he holds her and her child at knife point.”
When they got to the store and the woman mouthed her need for assistance, “all the patrons took her seriously and called 911 and we were able to arrive and detain Mr. Hahn-Collins and eventually take him into custody.”
Baldridge said this is a frightening case. “For all intents and purposes, these 2 don’t know each other. He ends up in her home and keeps her captive for 24 hours.”
The woman did the right thing by staying calm, he said. “It resulted in her being able to get away and her being able to summon help. Our message is to remain calm, do everything that you can to get away from that person…bide some time and eventually to a place where she can get 911 called.”
And he said the patrons in Dick’s did the right thing, too.
“We would rather people err on the side of caution. We don’t want you to walk away and say, ‘Gosh, this person was lipping help to me, should I call?’ Now it’s an hour later and we can’t find them anymore.”
The woman is physically fine, “but this is obviously a traumatic incident, so we’ll wish her a well recovery from that.”
The investigation continues into Hahn-Collins, who was wanted for a parole violation and had a felony warrant out for his arrest at the time of the incident, Baldridge said. Hahn-Collins has a history of arrests for sexual abuse and assault.
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.