The Pickens County Sheriff's Office says it has found a Canadian woman safe after she endured a five-day ordeal in which she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted.
The Pickens County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday that Fred Russell Urey Sr., 39, is locked up at the Pickens County Detention Center and accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting an 18-25 year old woman from Alberta.
Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark said investigators tracked Urey and the victim across three counties and via social media and cell phone records for much of the day Wednesday, with deputies arriving at several locations within minutes of the suspect and victim to find the duo had moved on.
Finally, around 10:30 p.m., deputies caught up to Urey and the victim at his trailer near Norris off S.C. 93. When they approached the house, "she came busting out of a plate glass window ... she came out and they went in," Clark recounted at a Thursday afternoon press conference.
Clark said Urey apparently held a knife to his own throat and threatened suicide before he was taken into custody. He was charged with criminal sexual misconduct, kidnapping and possession of methamphetamine.
The victim was lured to the Upstate over two months of contact with Urey, who promised $15,000 in fees for modeling work ("no nudity or sex ... strictly modeling"), said Clark. Urey is believed to have paid her airfare and picked her up at the Atlanta airport May 18.
The sheriff said the victim apparently spent her first two days scouting locations with the suspect in Pickens and Anderson counties. She stayed in local hotels the first two nights, then Urey took her to his mobile home on the third day. Clark said Urey then restrained the woman and sexually assaulted her several times over the next few days.
The sheriff said the victim was allowed to communicate via FaceTime and cell phone with her family during her captivity - under Urey's close supervision. She was able to signal to them that she was in danger during those contacts.
The family notified the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and attempts were made in Canada to track the victim’s cell phone, which provided the initial leads as to where she was being held, according to Chief Deputy Creed Hashe.
Clark said Urey has at least one previous conviction for possession of methamphetamine, but investigators were still digging into his background Wednesday afternoon. He should go in front of a judge sometime Friday.
Thus far, Urey is the only subject of his office's investigation, Clark added.
The victim was treated and released from a local hospital and is now resting at an undisclosed location. Investigators have interviewed her, but the sheriff said they are still in the early stages of their work.
"She's receiving help from us and waiting for her parents," Clark said.
Urey's neighbors said they had never seen anything out of the ordinary at the trailer, which he apparently shared at times with a relative over the last several years.
"Fred's a very quiet person. He comes over her once a month pay the rent and maybe I'll see his truck come and go, but that's it," said Urey's landlord Vernell Chappell, Pastor of the Church of God at Midway in nearby Central. "The police came showed up yesterday afternoon before we went to church, so I knew then they were looking for him."
"He's been there quite a few years," said neighbor Deloris Hughes. I've seen the law up there once before, but by looking at him you'd never know him to be that type of person. I wouldn't have dreamed that."
Clark said he called Thursday's press conference to emphasize the need for caution when dealing with others on the internet.
"Thank goodness our victim is fine ... a lot of times things don't turn out as good," said Clark. "We can give you tips and figures, but it comes down to one thing: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do your homework."