“Please call 911, CALL 911,” read a sign held up by a woman gazing out of the front passenger window of a car in the hopes that someone would act on her plea.
It was the last resort for the Long Island woman to save herself and her three boys—two autistic twins aged 3 and an older boy aged 13—as they were all being held captive in the car.
Her boyfriend, 36-year-old William Jamal Wilkinson, had forced the four into his vehicle, a black 2005 Ford Taurus, and refused to let them out, threatening violence.
As the car drove down along Glen Cove Road in New York, Wilkinson decided to pull into the Mobil gas station at Roslyn Heights for a beer, WCBS-TV reported.
At around 1:27 p.m., Wilkinson parked the car and walked into the station. It was in that moment that the woman held up an SOS message that she had scrawled down close to the window.
Fortunately, a passerby took note of the sign and called the police.
Ganish Persaud, a clerk at Mobil, later told WCBS-TV of the passerby, “He told me, ‘A lady just flashed me a sign from the car she was sitting in that says, ‘Call 911,’ and he says in case cops show up don’t be worried.’
“I told him that was the best thing you could have done,” Persaud said.
In a matter of minutes, the Nassau County police came and stopped the car, freeing the woman and her three boys. Wilkinson was arrested and charged with four counts of unlawful imprisonment, two counts of endangering the welfare of an incompetent physically disabled person, and endangering the welfare of a child. The police also found two ounces of marijuana.
Wilkinson had his first court hearing on May 29 at the Nassau First District Court in Hempstead.
The judge has ordered him to stay clear from the children and his girlfriend, according to court records. He has been placed in custody on a $50,000 bond.
His next appearance in court is due on Friday.
Kidnapped Woman Escapes by Slipping a Note to Veterinarian
Another SOS note was reported to have saved another woman in Florida from her abusive boyfriend in May last year.
At the time, Carolyn Reichle, 28, managed to escape abuse from her boyfriend by leaving a note at the veterinary hospital.
According to the Volusia County Sheriff, Reichle was beaten for two days straight by her boyfriend, Jeremy Floyd, who shared the same home with her in DeLand. Floyd held her in the house, beating her and threatening her at gunpoint.
After spending a whole day in bed on May 24 due to head injuries, Reichle asked to go to DeLand Animal Hospital to treat her dog. Her boyfriend insisted to go with her, carrying a loaded handgun and pointing the gun at Reichle on the way.
At the hospital, Reichle slipped a note to a staff member at the front desk that read: “Call the cops. My boyfriend is threatening me. He has a gun. Please don’t let him know.”
The staff member called the police, who detained Floyd and seized his gun.
The Volusia police said that they found two bullet holes in the hallway of Reichle’s home. The bullets had penetrated through the hall into another room.
Reichle was taken to a local hospital for treatment after sustaining injuries on the head, a black eye, and arm bruises.
Floyd was charged with stalking, aggravated assault with a firearm, false imprisonment, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, and simple battery.
He was held at Volusia County Branch Jail without bail and prohibited from contacting Reichle.