Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Serial Killer Andrew Urdiales

A Victim Who Survived


Jennifer Asbenson
Jennifer Asbenson
Jennifer Asbenson, 19, a nursing assistant in Palm Springs, worked the night shift at a home for disabled children. On September 27, 1992, according to Asbenson and CBS News, she went to a bus stop to catch the bus that would drop her near the children's home. She first went to a store to make a purchase, but when she returned she saw the last bus for the night leave without her. In a panic, she knew that she did not have a way to get to work. Moments later a man pulled up in a car and asked Asbenson if he could give her a ride. He did not seem threatening and, in fact, seemed like a Good Samaritan, so she accepted the ride. She said that she "didn't feel any sense of fear," and thought that he "was so nice and so charming." Although he made a few advances toward her, he dropped her off for work in time for her shift, which ran from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.

The man was waiting outside the children's home the next morning when Asbenson got off work. She told police, as well as reporters, that she was not frightened by the man, who said: "Let me give you a ride home." Her thoughts were that the man was not dangerous, and that if he had wanted to do something to her he could have done it the evening before. As a result, she accepted the ride—again.

Once inside the car, however, things were much different this time. He put a knife to her throat, tied her hands behind her back and then drove her into the desert. When they arrived at the remote location, Asbenson's nightmare intensified. He cut off her shorts and bra, and shoved her underwear into her mouth. Afterward he forced her to perform sexual acts, and tried to rape her. He then strangled her until she passed out. When she regained consciousness he opened the car door and told her to get out, but held her back by yanking on her hair. He then forced her into the car's trunk and drove off.

Convinced that she was going to die, Asbenson desperately searched for the trunk's release mechanism. When she found it, she waited for what seemed the right moment and jumped out onto the road. After several cars would not stop for her, she stood in the road in front of a Marine truck and forced it to stop. When her abductor saw the two Marines helping her, he fled, she said. The Marines drove her to safety and she reported her terrifying ordeal to the police.

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