Local News

Police: Woman tried to kidnap virtual boyfriend

Posted August 22, 2008 3:33 p.m. EDT
Updated August 26, 2008 12:17 p.m. EDT

— A Durham woman was arrested Thursday on charges she tried to kidnap a man with whom she had a virtual relationship, police said.

Kimberly Jernigan, 33, of the 800 block of Parker Street, faces charges of attempted kidnapping, burglary and aggravated menacing. She was being held Friday in Maryland after being arrested at an Interstate 95 rest stop, police said.

A 52-year-old man told investigators that he found a woman inside his apartment when he came home from work Thursday. The woman had something in her hand, and the man noticed a laser light shining from the object onto his torso, police said.

The man ran from the apartment and called police, who found handcuffs outside the man's bedroom window and a roll of duct tape inside the apartment. Officers also discovered a dog bound by duct tape in the man's bathroom, police said.

The man told police he believed the intruder was his ex-girlfriend, saying she had tried to kidnap him at gunpoint from his Pennsylvania office two weeks earlier.

The couple had met online through a Web site called Second Life, the man told police. His online character was a lion, and he engaged in a virtual relationship with the woman, who used a female avatar. After meeting in person a few months ago, he said, he ended the relationship.

Investigators said that after the alleged abduction attempt in Pennsylvania, the woman posed as a postal worker seeking the man's address to deliver a package. After four days, she found his address and went to his apartment with her dog, police said.

Instead of leaving the dog in her car, she took the animal along for the break-in, police said. They said she must have taped its snout shut and locked it in the bathroom to keep it from making too much noise.

The dog wasn't injured in the incident, but the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was investigating a possible charge of cruelty to an animal.

Jernigan put up a brief struggle when she was arrested at the rest stop, police said. Officers recovered a Taser and a BB gun.