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Great-grandmother thwarts carjacking when man drives off with her, toddler in back seat

Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 2:27 AM EDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) - An Iowa man is facing kidnapping charges after police say he stole a car with a great-grandmother and 2-year-old boy inside. The brave, quick-thinking woman used her phone to call for help.

Desirae Dupree is still in shock after her grandmother, Loretta Braddy, and her 2-year-old son were kidnapped Tuesday morning outside a QuikTrip convenience store in Des Moines, Iowa.

“I went inside to get some donuts, and I came out to no car and a phone call from my grandma screaming, ‘Where are you taking me?’” Dupree said. “My heart just dropped. I froze. I didn’t know what to think. I just started thinking the worst, like what is he doing to do to my grandma and my son?”

Desirae Dupree, left, called her grandmother, Loretta Braddy, brave after the woman and her 2-year-old great-grandson were kidnapped outside a QuikTrip in Des Moines, Iowa.
Desirae Dupree, left, called her grandmother, Loretta Braddy, brave after the woman and her 2-year-old great-grandson were kidnapped outside a QuikTrip in Des Moines, Iowa.(Source: KCCI via CNN)

Police say 59-year-old Bruce Beehler jumped in the front seat of Dupree’s SUV and drove off with Braddy and the toddler still in the back seat.

“I said, ‘You need to stop, really. You need to stop the car.’ He just kept right on, and that’s when I started thinking this is for real. This man is kidnapping us,” Braddy said.

Braddy quickly called her granddaughter and told her where Beehler was driving. Dupree then called 911 and stayed on the phone with police and Braddy.

“The fact that she was able to stay so brave and levelheaded and calm just amazes me and shows how strong I have of a grandma,” Braddy said.

Despite the circumstances, Braddy says she didn’t feel like she was in much danger because the alleged kidnapper didn’t say a lot.

“He’s in the driver’s seat, and I’m right behind him. I’m just telling them where I’m at, and he didn’t say anything,” Braddy said. “He was just kind of quiet.”

Police spotted the stolen SUV just a few miles from the convenience store. They stopped the vehicle and arrested Beehler.

Bruce Beehler, 59, is charged with second-degree kidnapping, third-degree kidnapping and theft of a vehicle. He could face 50 years to life in prison if he is convicted.
Bruce Beehler, 59, is charged with second-degree kidnapping, third-degree kidnapping and theft of a vehicle. He could face 50 years to life in prison if he is convicted.(Source: Polk County Sheriff's Office)

“To see her remain that levelheaded, where she was able to get on the phone, make that call and keep her bearings about her so that she could get her help, that’s amazing to us,” said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek.

Police charged Beehler with second-degree kidnapping, third-degree kidnapping and theft of a vehicle. He could face 50 years to life in prison if he is convicted.

Copyright 2020 KCCI via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.

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