Abducted woman safe, parolee arrested

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By AMY LINDBLOM

A prison parolee suspected of abducting a Sonora woman in May was arrested Wednesday afternoon in northwestern Washington.

Police said they were tipped off to his whereabouts by the victim.

Thomas Wehner, 27, is being held in the Skagit County Jail, north of Seattle, without bail on a California Department of Corrections warrant for parole violation.

Wehner will likely be served with other warrants from Tuolumne and Stanislaus counties for other parole violations, as well as new charges including fleeing a peace officer and kidnapping, said Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department investigator Chris Harrison.

Wehner is suspected of abducting Samantha Mary Taylor, 23, a former girlfriend missing since May 27, when she failed to return home.

Taylor's mother, Gwen, said yesterday her daughter was abducted after she met with Wehner in Knights Ferry to break off their three-month relationship, but Wehner would not allow it.

"He beat her up all the time," Gwen Taylor said of what her daughter told her happened after she was abducted. "She thought she was gone three months and she was only gone three weeks. She said there were a few times when she could have gotten away, but that she knew if she got caught, he would kill her. It was a typical battered woman's syndrome."

Mount Vernon Police Department Lt. Ken Bergsma said Wehner was arrested about 3 p.m. Wednesday when he came out of a Money Tree store after collecting money wired to him.

Mount Vernon is about 60 miles north of Seattle.

Bergsma declined to say who wired Wehner the money.

"He was not armed, but he did resist, and was arrested by our police tactical team," Bergsma said.

Sonora Police Detective Hal Prock said Wehner could face kidnapping charges for taking Taylor across state lines and possibly assault and battery charges. He is suspected of assaulting Taylor in Mount Vernon and in Marysville, Wash., Prock said.

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The Union Democrat
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