Fugitive’s Van Acted As ‘Movable Dungeon’ To Lock Up Abducted Women
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Authorities say a man fatally shot by a Portland officer last month had been stalking young women in a van that he converted into a “movable dungeon” with chains and handcuffs after one of his victims managed to escape from it in January.
Grand jury transcripts released Monday say Kelly Swoboda kept handwritten surveillance notes on about 20 women. He rated the women and marked whether they were alone.
Officers confronted the 49-year-old Swoboda near a high school last month after getting reports of a suspicious van following students. He died in an exchange of gunfire, and the grand jurors met to decide whether the shooting was legally justified. They determined it was.
Swoboda already was wanted by police because he was the suspect in bank robberies as well as a January kidnapping at a tanning salon southeast of Portland.
A 23-year-old woman was working alone at the salon when a man beat her, forced her outside to a van and bound her ankles and wrists with duct tape. The woman escaped by jumping from the moving vehicle. She suffered a fractured skull and other injuries.
When investigators examined Swoboda’s van after the March shooting, they discovered chains mounted to the floor in back and items used to tie a person, including ropes and zip ties. The woman who escaped had not noticed such items, leading a prosecutor to ask whether Swoboda had later converted the van into a “movable dungeon.”
“I’m thinking exactly that one victim got away, and he wasn’t going to let the next one get away,” said Detective Mary Nunn of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, according to the transcript. “Our discussion at my office is that he was coming up with a better way to restrain somebody in his vehicle.”
Among the surveillance notes discovered by police were ones about a brunette near the Oregon Episcopal School tennis courts that he rated an eight, and a ballerina spotted outside a Eugene dance studio. At least one young woman was in the southern Oregon city of Klamath Falls.
“Some of them have license plates, so he has seen them driving and follows them,” Portland police Detective Erik Kammerer said in response to a question from a grand juror.
A prosecutor asked Kammerer what all of it meant.
“He’s making notes on people that he finds – I don’t want to use the word attractive – people he’s interested in for the purposes of abducting them and doing whatever he’s going to do to them,” Kammerer said.
Investigators also said they recovered pornographic magazines and DVDs from the van that featured teenage girls and young women.
The transcript runs more than 300 pages, and much of it describes the sequence of events leading to the shootout between Swoboda and Officer John Romero. Swoboda was shot three times and died at the scene. Romero, a school resource officer at Wilson High, took a bullet to the hand.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.