Cops: Woman, daughters held hostage
AVON ” Wendy Davidson had just loaded her two daughters into her white Suburban early Monday afternoon when she realized she’d left her mailbox key in her Avon Crossings apartment. She left the girls in the car as she rushed back inside.
Entering her home, Davidson, 36, suddenly realized she wasn’t alone. She turned to find a man standing behind her with a gun in his hand, police said.
The man told Davidson he wanted her car, and Davidson told the man he could take her 2005 white Chevrolet Suburban but she wanted her girls, ages 7 and 10, Avon police Chief Brian Kozak said.
The man told Davidson to call her girls back into the apartment, then he took the three into the master bedroom where he made them take the shoelaces out of the shoes in the room, Kozak said.
He used tape and the shoelaces to tie them up, all the while shouting commands and profanity at them, Kozak said.
The man stayed in the room with the Davidsons for several hours before leaving in the Suburban, Kozak said.
Around 4 p.m., Minturn First Bank teller Joann Avilla was closing the branch when she noticed a man sitting in white Suburban outside, Kozak said.
“She just felt an uncomfortable feeling,” he said.
Avilla had already jotted down the SUV’s license plate number when the man, wearing a ski mask over the lower half of his face, a black baseball cap and gloves, got out of the car and walked up to the bank, Kozak said.
Even though the man left after finding the doors locked, Avilla pushed the bank’s panic button, summoning Minturn police, because she thought the man was suspicious, Kozak said.
“She did a pretty good job,” he said.
Police said this incident might be related to two other recent bank robberies at the West Star Bank on Hanson Ranch Road in Vail.
Vail and Avon police launched a manhunt but failed to find the suspect or the suspicious Suburban. Running the license plate number, officers, who didn’t yet know about the Davidsons’ ordeal, learned the car belonged to someone living in Avon Crossing, Kozak said.
Officers went to the apartment complex, but couldn’t find the car. They knocked on Davidsons’ apartment door, but there was no answer, Kozak said.
At about the same time,Davidson’s 10-year-old daughter managed to free herself and untied her mother and sister, Kozak said.
Davidson was finally able to call police at 5:37 p.m. The three were unharmed, Kozak said.
“Obviously, going through a situation like that, where someone enters your home and threatens you, would be traumatic,” Kozak said.
Eagle County Victims Services offered the family counseling.
The white Suburban was later found in Vail, and the search for the suspect continues.
“This is very unusual for this area,” said Kozak, who recently moved to the Vail Valley from the Phoenix area. “That was everyday there.”
Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 748-2927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.