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Family Thwarts Apparent Kidnapping On Way To Vacation

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GALLATIN COUNTY, Ky. (WLWT) — Kentucky State Police say a Hardin County teen is home safe after a family headed for vacation thwarted her kidnapping.

Just 3 miles into the drive Thursday to Pigeon Forge, the Ruth family noticed something wasn't right on Interstate Highway 71 near Warsaw, Kentucky. 

Shane Ruth said he first thought it was a car wreck. He soon found a man attacking a woman in a car, claiming she was on drugs.

"In the blink of an eye, he jumped over the center console, mounted on top of her and just started strangling her and telling her he was going to, just to die," Ruth said.

Ruth ran to the driver's side, opened the door and punched the man. 

"Then I dragged him out of the car, and that's when he broke free and started running," Ruth said. 

What Ruth didn't know was that man, 18-year old John Gaskinss, was wanted for kidnapping the 16-year-old and her sister in Elizabethtown. 

Kentucky State Police said he held them at a secluded cabin and forced them into a car. 

"That was terrible," said the father of the girls. "It was a terrible feeling, you know. I  was praying and I'm thankful and grateful to the lord that they're well."

Though officers pursued the man, Ruth, an Army vet, ultimately took him down. What's even more impressive is Ruth is disabled with a degenerative disc and pancreas disease.

"I know he saved that girl's life, but it's not even about us being a hero," said Ruth's wife, Nicole. "It's just we were there at the right place at the right time, really."

Gaskin was arraigned on a number of felony charges, including kidnapping. He was being held in the Hardin County Detention center. 

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