Woman seen bloodied and screaming in NJ tractor-trailer found safe after 26 hours of search
The search for a woman who was seen bleeding from the face and screaming for help in a white tractor-trailer cab in New Jersey has been found safe after a 26-hour manhunt, police say Thursday evening.
A search was launched on Wednesday afternoon after a witness reported seeing the woman bleeding and the man driving the truck brought her back to the cabin around 2 p.m. on Route 130, towards the Ridge exit Road, South Brunswick Township Police said.
Authorities released footage of the incident, asking for guidance in locating the truck.
The woman and man involved in the incident were found at 5.10pm on Thursday, police said, and said the case was not as grim as it first appeared.
The couple have been identified as a married couple in their 50s, Deputy Chief Jim Ryan told NBC News.
It turned out that the woman was bleeding after hitting her head in the vehicle and in a panic tried to get out of the window, and her husband rushed into the truck for help, Ryan said.
Authorities said they received reports from across the country, but the break in the case came from Gabrielli Truck Sales, a truck dealership located on Route 130 near where the incident occurred. said the police.
The company recovered video that helped detectives identify the truck and the woman inside.
Authorities searched Middlesex and Union counties for the white truck and detectives observed a man matching the witness’s description leaving the truck in question and approaching him.
Detectives also found the woman in the video in the same location.
Both agreed to go to police headquarters and speak with detectives.
That’s when police learned the husband “came to a dead stop” in the vehicle and his wife “fell forward and hit her head,” Ryan said.
“He stopped on the shoulder of the road when he saw that she had hit her head. She saw blood coming in and she immediately panicked because she thought it was very serious so she was screaming for help and wanted to pressure it. When he stopped the truck and looked and saw the bleeding, he realized he had to go get help,” Ryan said.
“He never saw the witness or realized there was anyone who saw the encounter,” Ryan added.
He said the woman’s bleeding eventually stopped and the couple ended up going to a local Rite Aid to get a dressing for her.
Ryan said when detectives found the pair they could see visible injuries on the woman and she had a bandage on the side of her head.
Ryan said they also recovered video from inside the truck to confirm the couple’s account. He called finding the couple like “finding a needle in a haystack.” Tipping calls came in from Texas, California, and Washington, and police received help from the FBI.
“A lot of times our stories are sad and tragic, and this one has a positive outcome because so many people got involved quickly and we found the answers,” Ryan said.
Chief Raymond Hayducka hailed the pair’s discovery as a “great team effort, with the community providing guidance to detectives searching for leads.”
“It lasted 26 hours, but we were able to locate the woman and make sure she was safe,” Hayducka said.