Austin man caught in Kansas charged with kidnapping

KXAN News - WICHITA, Kan. (KXAN) -- A 24-year-old Austin man was charged with kidnapping after being arrested Friday in South Central Kansas. The charges against Joseph Andrew DeRusse were handed down Monday in federal court in Wichita, Kansas.

The woman said DeRusse abducted her at gunpoint and then blindfolded and handcuffed her. It wasn't until later that she learned the weapon was a BB gun, which police described as "very realistic and had been modified to look like an actual hand gun."

DeRusse intended to force the woman to spend three weeks with him at a bed and breakfast in rural Narka, Kansas, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office. It was during that time he intended to convince her to marry him. Police also found an engagement ring.

Austin police were first alerted to the kidnapping about 6 p.m. Thursday after a family member called the Hutto Police Department concerned about the woman's well-being.

The location of the vehicle was being tracked with GPS on the woman's phone by her father and being relayed to Austin police. Austin officials then passed that information along to the Newton, Kansas police department. An officer located the vehicle as it was coming through town about 4:45 a.m. Friday and stopped the car a few miles later along Interstate 135.

Newton is about 30 miles north of Wichita, Kansas.

The woman said DeRusse removed the handcuffs and blindfold when they were in Oklahoma. She said the vehicle stopped a couple of times but she was afraid to get out of car, believing DeRusse was armed.

If convicted, DeRusse faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.

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