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Black woman who escaped basement dungeon says 2 others killed by Missouri abductor

Click to play video: 'Excelsior Springs victim found with ‘trash bag, metal collar and duct tape around neck’'
Excelsior Springs victim found with ‘trash bag, metal collar and duct tape around neck’
WARNING: Video contains content that may be disturbing to viewers. Discretion is advised. – Oct 19, 2022

A 22-year-old Black woman, who was allegedly abducted and tortured for weeks locked in a Missouri basement, says she was not the only one who was held captive by 39-year-old Timothy Haslett Jr., a white man who has been charged with her rape, kidnapping, and assault.

The woman, who was identified only as T.J. in court filings, escaped from captivity and told witnesses who helped her that her friends “did not make it out,” fuelling outrage from Black community members in Kansas City. Last month, neighbourhood advocates went public with fears that a “serial killer” was targeting Black women and girls after an alleged four murders and three kidnappings occurred in the span of weeks.

At the time, Kansas City Police said the claims were “completely unfounded.”

T.J. escaped captivity from the basement of a home in Excelsior Springs, a neighbourhood of Kansas City, on the morning of Oct. 7 after being imprisoned for about a month. She was found still wearing a metal collar locked with a padlock that police had to remove. She also had duct tape wrapped around her neck and was wearing latex lingerie.

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Police tape blocks off the Excelsior Springs residence of Timothy M. Haslett Jr., after the home was boarded up and fenced off Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, in Excelsior Springs, Mo., following a days-long execution of a search warrant at the home. Haslett was arrested Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, and is charged with first-degree rape or attempted rape, first-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault. Bill Lukitsch/The Kansas City Star via AP

Court filings detail that Haslett kept T.J. locked in a “small room in the basement that he had built. He kept her restrained in handcuffs on her wrists and ankles.”

T.J. told police she had been whipped and raped repeatedly by her captor. She managed to escape when Haslett left the house to drop his child off at school. T.J. then went door-to-door, banging on multiple neighbours’ houses seeking help.

“It was readily apparent that she had been held against her will for a significant period of time,” said Lt. Ryan Dowdy of the Excelsior Springs police at a press conference outside Haslett’s home. He said authorities are still processing evidence from Haslett’s home.

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According to authorities and media reports, T.J. said that Haslett had also kidnapped and killed her two friends, though investigators have yet to find other missing people in Haslett’s home. Cadaver dogs were seen searching his backyard, KMBC reported.

“We have no further victims that we are aware of at this specific moment in time,” Dowdy told KCTV. “She made mention of other victims, but there’s no signs of them at this time that we have found.”

Haslett was arrested the same day that T.J. escaped, on Oct. 7. He is being held on a $500,000 bond for charges of first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault.

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Around the time that T.J. went missing, leaders in Kansas City’s Black community were raising concerns that multiple Black women and girls were being targeted and going missing. Last month, the Kansas City Defender published a video of Bishop Tony Caldwell relaying information that he received that the missing women had all been abducted from Prospect Avenue.

Court filings show that T.J. told police that she was kidnapped from Prospect Avenue.

Police dismissed the community’s concerns, issuing a statement saying that “there is no basis to support this rumour.”

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“We are aware of the social media post circulating regarding the murder of 4 women in Kansas City, Missouri in the past week at the hands of a “serial killer” and the report of 3 additional women missing,” reads the statement published by the Kansas City police.

“We want to make the public aware this claim is completely unfounded… There has been 1 female homicide victim in the last six weeks which occurred in the 3600 block of Cypress Ave.”

Kansas City police maintain that no reported murders or kidnappings occurred consistent with the community’s claims and the Excelsior Springs Police Department told CNN that “in order to begin a missing persons investigation, someone would need to file a report with our department identifying the missing party.”

It’s unclear if T.J. was ever reported missing.

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Bishop Caldwell, who was one of the first community leaders to raise alarms about the missing Black women and girls, told CNN that authorities often don’t take Black people seriously when their loved ones going missing, writing them off as ‘runaways.’

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“If that young lady would not have escaped, we wouldn’t be talking today,” Caldwell said.

Haslett’s mugshot shows him as a scruffy-looking white man with dark brown hair and a beard. Bishop Caldwell told the Defender that this “was the description of the guy we were talking about.”

Mugshot of Timothy Haslett Jr.
Mugshot of Timothy Haslett Jr. Excelsior Springs Police Department

“That’s exactly what we were telling people. I’m sorry people didn’t act on it sooner, and it’s absolutely tragic that the other young ladies didn’t make it. It’s horrible,” he said. “A lot of times we are even trying to give the police information so they can act on it, because the people in the street don’t trust them and now we can see that’s rightfully so.”

On top of the recent outrage, the Kansas City Police Department is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for alleged racism against Black officers.

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