Watch LIVE

Woman spotted attempted kidnapping in progress — and decided to take action: 'No, I'm not a hero\

News
Cindy Vadnais said she heard screaming one day in April 2017 but figured it was "kids playing." But it turned out to be an attempted kidnapping — and she took quick action. (Image source: WCCO-TV video screenshot)

Cindy Vadnais said she heard screaming one day last April but figured it was "kids playing," she told WCCO-TV.

But it was an attempted kidnapping — and she took action.

To be on the safe side, Vadnais told the station she drove half a block in the small town of Willernie, Minnesota, to investigate.

With that a woman "ran out in front of my car screaming, ‘He’s trying to get me into the van! He is trying to kidnap me!’” Vadnais recounted to WCCO.

The "he" in this case turned out to be Michael Harker, who was on parole from Idaho for felony strangulation, the station said.

Michael Harker (Image source: Washington County Jail)

Newly released surveillance video from that day showed a woman smoking a cigarette outside a Domino’s Pizza when Harker stopped his van and and parked across the street, WCCO noted. Harker was then seen walking up to the woman, grabbing her and forcing her toward his van, the station said.

Image source: WCCO-TV video screenshot

What did Vadnais do next?

The surveillance video showed Vadnais’ dark truck trying to block the escape of Harker's white van, WCCO said.

Image source: WCCO-TV video screenshot

“I just thought, ‘That son of a gun, I’m not going to let him go,’” Vadnais told the station. “But he had enough room to escape. I couldn't believe it.”

Image source: WCCO-TV video screenshot

What crucial info did Vadnais and the victim get?

Vadnais followed the van for a few blocks but soon returned to help the victim, WCCO said.

“She was just hysterical,” Vadnais told the station.

And despite Harker's getaway, the victim and Vadnais each managed to procure crucial information: The victim got a partial license plate, WCCO reported — and Vadnais noticed something arguably even more helpful.

“I got his last name off of his sign on his van,” she told the station.

Image source: WCCO-TV video screenshot

What happened to the would-be kidnapper?

Harker was arrested two days later, pleaded guilty to the attempted kidnapping and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, WCCO said.

What about the victim?

The victim and Vadnais have become friends, the station said.

“It still really haunts her,” Vadnais told WCCO.

And despite her heroic actions, Vadnais told the station she doesn't consider herself one.

“I didn’t even have time to be scared … I was more mad,” Vadnais told WCCO. “No, I’m not a hero. Anyone would do the same thing. I would do it again.”

Most recent
All Articles