Redding kidnapping victim says she feared she would die


OLD STATION, Calif. - The kidnapping victim found by Christmas tree cutters recalls her abduction over Thanksgiving weekend. She tells police she knew the suspects involved.

On Monday, November 27, a woman who had been kidnapped was found in the woods by Christmas tree cutters in eastern Shasta County.

Court documents outline how the 25-year-old woman told police she had a casual relationship with her abductors, Johanna Knighten and Fred Sanderson. She claimed they met up frequently. She stated this changed after they accused her of stealing an ounce of marjiuana and and three grams of methamphetamine.

Three days after that accusation, the victim stated Knighten was giving her a ride supposedly to meet up with friends. Instead the victim said it was a trap.

The victim said Knighten drove her to Redding Fellowship Church and stopped the van in order for Sanderson to meet the two. She said Sanderson pulled her out of the van, hit her in the head, threatened to kill her and then threw her back in the van as a hostage.

Knighten then drove her around for an hour and a half while Sanderson kept her in the back of the van. They stopped six miles off of Highway 44 near Hat Creek and threw her out into the woods.

The victim said the two stripped her of everything but a pair of shorts and left her, almost naked with no food or water.

Alone in the wilderness the victim said she thought she was going to die. She was found alive the next morning by people who were looking for a Christmas tree and she was taken to Mercy Medical Center.

According to the victim's statement, three days before her abduction Sanderson had come to her R-V where she lives off of Bechelli Lane in Redding. He attempted to beat her but the victim's husband intervened.

Police were called but no charges were made against Sanderson. Instead, the victim claimed to relocate her R-V in hopes that Sanderson wouldn't find her.

Her abductors, Johanna Knighten and Fred Sanderson, are both from Redding and accused of kidnapping, conspiracy and attempted murder. Sanderson had avoided arrest until the afternoon of December 1st.

Police say they found Sanderson around 3:00 the area of Garden Avenue and Gold Street in Redding where he was arrested without incident.

Sanderson was charged conspiracy to commit murder, torture, kidnapping, robbery and criminal threats.

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