South Carolina

Model lured to US is kidnapped, sexually assaulted for days in rural SC, cops say

Fred Russell Urey
Fred Russell Urey Photo provided by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department

Police say a South Carolina man lured a model from Canada to South Carolina, holding her captive and sexually assaulting her over five days. Police managed to track down where the woman was and staged a rescue when the woman jumped through a window to awaiting officers in May 2017, according to the Calgary Sun newspaper and other reports.

Now, Fred Russell Urey, 40, faces new charges as authorities in Pickens County, South Carolina prepare to go to trial, the Calgary Sun reports.

“It was just sent to the grand jury Tuesday in order to move the case forward,” 13th Judicial Circuit Court spokeswoman Marcia Barker told the Canadian newspaper. “We upped that to five counts of criminal sexual conduct, one for each day he (allegedly) held her.”

Court records show Urey was originally charged with criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and distribution of methamphetamine.

Prosecutors filed the five new counts of criminal sexual conduct on Tuesday, according to online court records. Urey faces up to 150 years in prison if convicted of all charges, the Global News of Canada reports.

Urey said he was a professional photographer and lured the unnamed woman from Alberta, Canada with promises of modeling work, according to the Global News. The site reported Urey promised to pay the woman $15,000 and said the work did not include “nudity or acts of sexual behaviour.”

An earlier story from the Global News explains the woman, who was 18 to 25, met Urey online and chatted for a couple months before she agreed to fly to Atlanta on May 18, 2017.

Police say the Urey took the woman to rural Pickens County to scout sites for photo shoots, staying at hotels for two nights before he took her back to his trailer the third night, the Independent Mail (Anderson, S.C.) reports. Urey allegedly restrained the woman and sexually assaulted her for days, according to the newspaper.

The woman’s parents became alarmed after a suspicious FaceTime call from their daughter when she was able to signal something was wrong and they contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, according to the Calgary Sun. Canadian authorities were able to work with Pickens County law enforcement to track the phone call and stage a rescue, the newspaper reported.

When police arrived, the woman jumped through a glass window, falling in the front yard, according to WSPA.

Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark, said deputies found Urey in the trailer holding a knife to his throat and threatening suicide, according to the Independent Mail.

Urey is still in custody, the Global Mail reports, and no trial date has been set.

Charles Duncan: 843-626-0301, @duncanreporting

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