Brave boy, 14, defended Central Michigan University rape victim from attacker, police say

Eric Ramsey
Eric Ramsey

(CBS/AP) MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - A Central Michigan University student who was abducted and raped managed to escape with help from a 14-year-old boy.

The woman was abducted Wednesday from the campus in Mount Pleasant, about 120 miles northwest of Detroit.

Isabella County Sheriff Lo Mioduszewski said the suspect, identified as 30-year-old Eric Ramsey, drove the woman in her own vehicle to a home off -campus and bound and raped her there.

He said Ramsey then put her back in the Ford Escape and pledged to kill her, but she escaped the moving vehicle and ran to a home yelling for help.

A 14-year-old boy, his 11-year-old sister and 2-year-old brother were alone inside the home when the woman banged on the door for help. The teenager, James Persyn III, told that he let the woman in, locked the door and grabbed his hunting knife.

He said he while the woman was using his phone to call 911, he moved her, his siblings and the family dog into the bathroom. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, Ramsey came up to the door shouting, "Let me in or I'll kill you."

While the woman talked  to an emergency dispatcher on the phone, Ramsey  "ended up pouring gasoline on the house and then lit it on fire," Mioduszewski said in a statement.

The children had also called their father, who arrived home in time to extinguish the flames, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Ramsey was spotted early Thursday in Otsego County, where he rammed the first of two state police cars. The sheriff said he subsequently stole a garbage truck and was fatally shot by a deputy in Crawford County, about 70 miles north of the university.

Campus police Chief Bill Yeagley said Ramsey told the woman that he chose her at random outside the Student Activity Center on campus. The chief said the woman saved her own life by fleeing from the car.

"I believe she made all the right choices," Yeagley said. "She's the true hero in this."

More on CrimesiderJanuary 21, 2013 - Eric Ramsey, Mich. rape suspect, reportedly posted he was "about to get shot" before being killed by police