A Cape Coral man is facing an attempted kidnapping charge after police say he grabbed a woman by the hair and tried to force her into his vehicle in broad daylight Wednesday morning.
Curtis D. Cornelison, 28, of 128 S.E. 42 Terrace was taken into custody Thursday based, in part, on a cellphone photo the victim was able to take after a passerby came to her assistance.
Cornelison was arrested at his residence without incident, officials said.
Curtis D. Cornelison
The investigation began shortly before noon Wednesday when a 9-1-1 caller to the Cape Coral Police Department reported that he had been flagged down while driving in the 3500 block of Surfside Boulevard. He said the hysterical woman got into his vehicle and asked him to follow a car.
"Seeing that she was visibly shaken and assuming something happened, the Samaritan assisted in catching up to the vehicle," a release from the Cape Coral Police Department issued Thursday states.
The woman then managed to take the cellphone camera photo of the car.
She told investigators that she had been roller skating Wednesday morning, something she usually does. She had stopped under some palm trees to drink some water when someone approached from behind her and grabbed her ponytail, pulling her backwards.
She said she was startled but began resisting and yelling, "no!"
A man continued to pull her backwards towards what she described as a maroon four-door vehicle with the front passenger door open. The man hit her on the side of the head with an open hand and tried to force her into the car.
"She was afraid for her life, and believed she was being kidnapped," officials said, adding she then noticed that the man had exposed himself.
"With her roller skates on, she was able to pull away from her attacker and watched him run around to the driver's side," the release states. He got in and sped away, northbound on Surfside, as she unsuccessfully tried to get her cell phone out of her pocket to take a picture of the car and license plate.
She saw another car approaching, began waving her arms and begged for help, managing to get "a sufficiently clear photograph of the suspect car that Detectives were able to identify it as a 4-door maroon Hyundai Elantra, registered to Curtis D. Cornelison of Cape Coral," police said.
She also provided a detailed description of the man she said attacked her.
Detectives first contacted Cornelison Wednesday and brought him to the Cape Coral Police Department for questioning. They say Cornelison was wearing clothing that matched the detailed description provided by the victim.
While the investigation continued, he was returned home and then charged Thursday based on "statements by the victim, the Good Samaritan, and suspect, forensic, and photographic evidence," officials said.