SASKATOON – Jasmine Clark and her boyfriend were on their way back to Saskatoon from Langenburg, Sask. when they noticed a young woman crouched in a ditch along Highway 16.
Little did they know the fragile-looking female they had stumbled upon was the subject of an abduction investigation being led by Saskatoon police.
“We had slowed down and she put her hands up and waived to me,” Jasmine Clarke told Global News.
“She had come to my car, I had cracked down the window just a little bit. She was beaten. Her eyes were purple. Her face was cut. Her teeth were chipped from him hitting her so hard.”
Saskatoon police responded to a call last Friday about a possible abduction in a residential neighbourhood. Officers conducted interviews, but were unable to corroborate information at the time.
Once more details were gathered, police say they had good reason to believe this was, in fact, a case of abduction.
The accused in the case, Clinton McLaughlin, appeared briefly in Saskatoon provincial court on Tuesday morning.
McLaughlin, 36, sat hunched forward in the prisoner’s box, clutching his head in his hands, concealing his face from those in the gallery.
Of her encounter with the victim, Clarke told Global News: “She had blood coming out of the back of her eyes. She was in a terrible state.”
The couple drove the 26-year-old woman back to Saskatoon. She borrowed one of their cell phones to call her family.
“She was sad. She was scared. She was crying – always looking behind her to see if he could possibly be there,” said Clarke.
As they drove further from the area, the woman began to open up.
A publication ban put into place on Tuesday guards the identity of the victim in this case. It also protects the identity of another female the accused has also been charged with assaulting.
Clarke told Global News the victim said she had gone to see the accused to return a personal item.
“She told me he was wearing an electronic bracelet. He was already on house arrest and he was supposed to stay at home and he had gotten angry with her…”
She says the woman told her that was when he placed her in the back of her truck with a tonneau cover concealing her from view.
“He did tie her hands and she ended up chewing her way through the tonneau cover on 8th Street at a red light. He did get out of the vehicle because he had seen what had happened and threw her back into the truck. She did say that 10 to 15 people had seen her go back into the truck and no one had stopped for her.”
According to court documents accessed by Global News, on Jan, 28, 2014, McLaughlin was charged with assault and the forcible confinement of another woman.
He was released on $2,500 bail in March with strict conditions and ordered to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.
Clarke says the victim told her the accused somehow managed to rid himself of the device.
Police say the victim and the accused spent more than two days out in the bush with no food and water.
The Crown has appealed to have McLaughlin’s release on bail revoked.
He has since been remanded until his next court appearance on June 11 for a show cause hearing.
He faces multiple charges in connection with this most recent incident, including aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful confinement and breach of recognizance.