Kidnapped? These Tips Will Help You Escape

Kidnapping is a frightening experience no matter how old you are or why it is happening to you. Being locked in a vehicle trunk without any mean of defense is a challenge that nobody would choose to face, and takes toughness and a survival mindset to get over it.

Even if your kidnapper is only looking for ransom money, you must still know how to avoid making the things worse. They may not want to hurt or kill you, but the fact remains: you were taken away against your will and that you are dealing with a criminal.

Your safety is at risk, so you need to know how to act for your survival. Would you know how to untie your hands, or get rid of the trunk and signal for help?

Read the following article and you’ll get what you need to face the unexpected!

What to Expect if Kidnapped?

Kidnapping can happen anywhere, however most kidnapped victims are grabbed within 10 miles of their home, and never even realize that they are being targeted.

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just strangers that may try to kidnap you. According to stats, friends, family members, ex-relationship partners, and others known to you commit this felony for different wrong reasons.

A kidnapper that is known to you will seek to get close to you and gain your trust. Use your intuition and always be prepared. A change in behavior or activities should always make you wary.

Strangers may keep appearing where you are shopping or seem to follow you around stores or other places. Always be on the lookout for people that may be watching you or trying to gauge your activities. No matter whether the person is known to you or not, they will have to get physically close enough to you in order to gain control.

The first 30 minutes are the most dangerous for a kidnap victim. Here the kidnappers are on edge and anything can go wrong for them.

As a kidnapped victim it is to your advantage to stay calm and don’t do anything stupid that could get you killed!

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Once the kidnapper gains control of you physically, they will have to get you off the scene and to a location where you will not be found, which usually means you will be forced into a vehicle. Since there is very little time to tie your hands up, many kidnappers will simply throw you in the trunk and drive off.

Before they throw you in, however, they may blindfold you. Blindfolding is done for three reasons: to keep you from recognizing them in the future, to dehumanize you, and to make you feel afraid and unable to control the situation.

Depending on the kidnapper, they may also beat you or drug you, and both actions are meant to make it easier to control you and transport you. If you haven’t been drugged, or if you are conscious, follow the kidnapper’s instructions to the letter, to save you from further physical injury now and later on when you are moved to another location. As long as you are conscious and able to move, there is a chance to escape.

While you are being transferred to an unknown destination, keep a calm mental attitude and concentrate on surviving the ordeal.

As you are being driven to another spot, count the number of turns, and remember any street noises, smells, or anything else that stands out. Most importantly try to keep track of time from where you were taken to your destination and how fast you are moving.

Once you have arrived at your destination, you may be placed in a temporary holding area before being moved again to a more permanent holding site.

Remember, never antagonize your kidnappers with obstinate behavior. Always concentrate on surviving. If your captors are using you to collect a ransom, there is a good chance you will be kept alive.

Quickly settle into the situation after you have reached your permanent holding site.

  • Be observant. Notice the details of your room, the sounds in the building, and the layout of the building by studying what is around you. Listen for sounds through walls, windows, or out in the streets. Pay attention to any smells that will tell you what is going on in the area around you. For example, if you smell a lot of food related odors, then you would know that a restaurant might be nearby and the hours when there are limited amounts of distraction for someone that might be able to help you. Also try to note the number of kidnappers, names, physical descriptions, accents, habits, and the leadership structure of your captures.
  • Get to know your captors. Memorize their schedules, look for patterns of behavior to be used to your advantage. Seek to identify weaknesses or vulnerabilities. If it is possible to escape then use this information to assist you.
  • Try to establish a rapport with your kidnappers. Family is a universal subject. So are sports and many hobbies. Your goal is to get the kidnappers to see you as a real person rather than simply an object with a price tag attached.
  • When speaking, don’t complain. Avoid being belligerent and comply with all orders and instructions. Once a level of rapport or communication is achieved, try asking for items that will increase your personal comfort. Don’t be afraid to ask for anything you need or want such as medicines, books, or papers. Make all requests in a reasonable manner.
  • Watch for signs of the Stockholm Syndrome. This occurs when the kidnapped individual begins to relate and empathize with their kidnappers. Establish a friendly rapport with your kidnappers, but always maintain your personal dignity and never compromise your integrity.

As a kidnapped individual, you must be patient as negotiations are often difficult and time-consuming.

Always remember your chances of survival increase with time. Most kidnappings end with no loss of life or physical injury to the kidnapped individual. Eventually the kidnapped individual will be released or rescued.

How Long Would it Take to Get Free?

The amount of time that you remain abducted can vary greatly. If you are kidnapped outside of the United States, it can take weeks to months to finally negotiate your release.

Never try to negotiate your own release, always leave this to an expert in kidnapping negotiations.

If the kidnappers are after money, they may try to find out how much money is available to get you released. Be very careful about the numbers you use, and how you express this information. If the price is too low, they may just decide it is of no use to keep you alive. It is also very important to buy time.

The longer the kidnapper is willing to wait for the money, the better chance there is of someone finding you.

What to Do During a Rescue Attempt

If there is an attempt to rescue you, keep a low profile and follow all instructions to the letter. Rescues will generally be attempted only after negotiations have failed. This means that the lives of the kidnapped victim, the kidnappers, and the rescue team are all at high risk. You don’t want to get shot in the confusion during the rescue attempt.

To protect yourself during this dangerous time do the following:

  • Never try to run away. Drop to the floor and remain still. If this cannot be done, cross your arms on your chest, bow your head, and stand perfectly still in a passive position. Never make any sudden moves that may be interpreted as hostile.
  • Wait for instructions and quickly obey all instructions you are given.
  • Most importantly do not get upset if a rescuer is not sure if you are the kidnapped victum or one of the kidnappers. Even if you are handcuffed and searched, do not resist. Just wait for the confusion to clear.

What If I Have a Chance to Escape?

Not every kidnapper is going to be a professional, let alone able to keep you under control. There may be times when you can try to escape and succeed.

It will be up to you to decide when it is best to use these measures. If at all possible, take some self defense classes and find out more about how to use these methods.

When to Escape?

The best opportunity for escape is in the beginning, while there is still some confusion and you are still in a public place. If escape is impossible or too risky, try to cause as much commotion as possible to draw attention to the situation.

At least, if others are aware of your situation, and realize you are being abducted, they can notify law enforcement, and a search can begin.

Locked in the Trunk? Here’s How to Escape

How to Cut Your Bindings

If your hands are tied, it may be possible to cut your bindings even if you are in the locked trunk of a vehicle.

What most people don’t known is that most vehicle trunks are made of stamped steel, and the edges of stamped steel are sometimes sharp and can be used to cut rope, flexcuffs, Duck tape, or wire restraints. All the kidnapped individual does is rub their bindings on a piece of exposed stamped steel until the bindings are cut.

The best area of the trunk to find exposed stamped steel is the underside of the trunk lid.

Warning: be careful when cutting your hand bindings or your might cut yourself deeply!

Video first seen on ITS Tactical / Imminent Threat Solutions

How to Find Escape Tools

If a kidnapper is going to use the trunk as a holding area, they will empty the trunk of all unnecessary items such as tools, top off liquids, or anything else that might be used to help free yourself from the trunk.

The kidnapper may forget to remove the spare tire, jack, and the lug wrench in the spare tire well because they are under the fiber board at the bottom of the trunk and don’t take up much space. These items can be very valuable to you.

To get at them, pull up the carpeting and bend up the fiber board cover. A lug wrench is an excellent weapon that can maim or kill. The pointed hub cap remover end is excellent for stabbing and slashing, while the heavy lug nut section makes an excellent steel club that can crush a skull, break arms, leg bones, or ribs.

Today most vehicles no longer use bumper jacks to raise a vehicle when repairing a flat tire. Instead a scissors jack is used to lift the vehicle. The scissors jack is a small compact jack that can be used in tight areas. If used in the trunk it is possible to bend or push metal out of the way.

How to Escape From a Locked Trunk

What most people don’t realize that it is extremely easy to escape from a locked trunk. As mandated by motor vehicle safety laws, all vehicle trunks must have an emergency release lever that is located at the top of all the trunk locking mechanisms.

Pushing this lever either to the left or to the right will unlock the trunk. This lever only needs a couple of pounds of pressure to activate the trunk unlocking system. You should be able to unlock the trunk even if your hands are tied.

Many cars manufactured over the last 20-plus years have a folding rear seat. In some vehicles, there is a unlocking lock located on the rear shelf.

To release the rear seats from the trunk, there is usually is a pull lever that is located under the rear shelf. If the lock was accidentally left unlocked, all you have to do is pull the release lever in order to escape the trunk and enter the passenger area of the vehicle.

If the backseat lock is in the lock position, bend and break the locking bar out of the way and pull the locking lever to release the back seat. Even though most vehicle locking attachment parts are made of heavy duty plastics, they can be broken easily.

How to Destroy the Electric Emergency Fuel Pump Reset Breaker and Box

Most cars today have electric fuel pumps on top of the vehicles gas tank. These vehicles also have a safety reset circuit breaker that cuts all of the electricity to the fuel pump.

This reset circuit is designed to prevent or reduce the extent of fires that may result from rear end collisions. If there is no electricity going to the fuel pump, the vehicle will stop running and cannot be restarted until the breaker is reset.

These circuit breakers are usually located on the driver side of the trunk wall behind the fiber board and the carpeting.

To get to the emergency breaker, first remove the carpeting and the fiber board. The breaker is a small plastic box about 3″ square with a push lever on it. If you are locked the trunk, you can shut down the vehicle’s motor by crushing this box or ripping the electric wiring off the breaker box.

Once the vehicle is no longer able to move, it will be blocking traffic and draw attention. The busier the road, the better chance you have of other people coming up to investigate. Once you know someone is around, you can pound on the trunk and let others know you are in there.

How to Signal for Help When Locked in the Vehicle Trunk

Cell phone

Your cell phone is perhaps your greatest signaling tool in the event of a kidnapping. If your phone has a good signal strength, you may be able to call 911 and let the dispatch know what is going on. In areas with weak signals, it would be to your advantage to text an emergency message.

If you are using a smartphone, it is likely that it has a GPS chip on it. As soon as you call 911, the chip will report exactly where you are. If your cell phone is an older model without GPS, it will be harder to track the kidnapped individual, but not impossible.

Here your phone number will have to be tracked signal tower to signal tower, and this tracking will occur as long as your cell phone is turned on.

Using the Tail Light Assemblies to Signal to Other Passing Drivers

If you are locked in a trunk of a vehicle, it is also possible to signal other outside passing vehicles with the use of the tail light assembly.

To get to the tail light assemblies, first remove the trunk carpet and the fiber board that covers the back of them. Next, pull out the light bulb sockets and the wires.

The kidnappers’ vehicle will no longer have brake lights, turn signals, and rear running lights. If you can do this to both rear tail light assemblies without the drivers knowing about it, there is a good chance that other vehicles driving around the kidnapper’s vehicle will take notice that something is wrong and call the police.

Or, the police themselves may see a problem with the lights and make a routine traffic stop.

Another way to use the rear tail light assembly to attract attention is to remove the mounting pins, light bulb sockets, and let the tail light assembly fall away from the vehicle. Once again, you must remove the trunk carpeting and the fiber board around the tail light assemblies. Next the light bulb sockets must be removed.

There are usually three or four pins that are visible from the back side of the tail light assembly. These pins hold the tail light assembly into the sheet metal safety cage of the vehicle. By pushing or kicking these holding pins backwards, it is possible to free the tail light assembly from the safety cage. When this is done the tail light assembly will fall from the moving vehicle.

Once the tail light assembly is gone, you can try sticking your hand out through the safety cage and wave for help to passing vehicles. Try to do this on the passenger side, just in case the kidnapper is watching the back corner of the vehicle through the side mirror.

If the hole in the safety cage is too small for you to put your hand through it, try putting long strips of rag through the hole in the safety cage to get people’s attention.

If all goes well and someone notices this strange activity, hopefully they will call the police to report it.

Knowledge is the key if you want to stay alive in any life or death situation. How long will you survive?

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This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Written by

Fred Tyrrell is an Eagle Scout and retired police officer that loves to hunt, fish, hike, and camp with good friends and family. He is also a champion marksman (rifle, pistol, shotgun) and has direct experience with all of the major gun brands and their clones. Fred refers to himself as a "Southern gentleman" - the last of a dying way. He believes a man's word is his bond, and looks forward to teaching others what he has learned over the years. You can send Fred a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • Great stuff but the likelihood of anyone being abducted is very remote. Many so called abductions are simply little whores who run off with some older sicko guy or custody disputes.

    • You mean sex trafficking? Moron.

  • Notice how in all the videos on how to escape zip ties the hands are always in FRONT? Likely they’ll be tied behind your back. Then what?

    One other item- if the lights are on, you can pull a bulb and alternately block and unblock the light with your hand and send an SOS that way.

    • I. Currently going threw a crisis where a gang pf natives habe kidnapped my family and other people i know and are torturing them 2rhrs a day. Tjis has been going on for about 1 year now and it sickens me to think that here i sit. Listenimg to these people screaming for me to help them or them telling their attacker to kill them pleass because tjeu. Canmot handle the pain. Police cannot help me or will not. I have called 911 begging fof help and after tellimg the police wjats gpong on being told that its not and drug use is to blame. These police have even simply called a family member to see if theu are ok after i told them they were being held hostage. These people have robbed my family for everything. Made them sell their homes for more money.mmmade th quit their jobs sp lnow one wpuld know theu are missing. These people do this aroind me and tell me excatly whay they are doing. And after they skin my family alive om next. Who can i thrn to for help