A man has been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of a 94-year-old Scottsdale woman who told police she was locked in the trunk of her car for about six hours before freeing herself, police said late Tuesday.
Ian Michael Nielsen, 25, was identified by Scottsdale police as the suspect in the kidnapping and break-in at the woman’s home on Nov. 7.
He was arrested on the street at about 11 a.m. Tuesday near the Tempe-Mesa border and booked on charges of attempted second-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery and aggravated assault, said Scottsdale police Sgt. Hugh Lockerby, during a press conference announcing the arrest.
Lockerby said the woman was “ecstatic” after receiving the news of Nielsen’s arrest.
Lockerby said the evidence and interviews that investigators conducted led them to include recommending a second-degree murder charge, but that Nielsen did not tell the woman he was planning on killing her during the kidnapping.
Lockerby said fingerprints found on the vehicle and a piece of evidence left in the trunk connected Nielsen to the crime and possibly other crimes.
“We are still doing interviews. We are looking at additional victims that are out there that may have been victimized by Mr. Nielsen,” Lockerby said.
Nielsen admitted to detectives his involvement in the Scottsdale woman’s kidnapping, saying he did it to obtain money for drugs, Lockerby said.
Lockerby said Nielsen took a “fair amount” of money from the woman.
Police previously said a man forcefully entered the 94-year-old’s home near 68th Street and Camelback Road about 6 a.m. Nov. 7.
Nielsen began renting a property in the same complex as the woman about a month before the home invasion and kidnapping, Lockerby said, but it was unclear if he was living there at the time.
Lockerby said after taking money from the woman, he took her from the home and drove around Scottsdale with the woman. He then used duct tape and zip ties to tie her up and lock her inside the trunk before fleeing, Lockerby said.
Her car was abandoned just before 7:45 a.m. with the woman in the trunk a short distance from her home, in the parking lot of Scottsdale Fashion Square mall.
“She was able to free herself and was able to escape the trunk, miraculously, and with the help of citizens call the Scottsdale Police Department,” Lockerby said,adding she was in the trunk for about six hours.
He said the woman suffered a broken sternum and has been released from the hospital.
Lockerby said investigators believe the woman acquired the injury when she was thrown to the ground at one point during the kidnapping.
Lockerby urged anyone else who may have been victimized by Nielsen to call Scottsdale police at 480-312-5000.
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