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Published March 09, 2009, 12:00 AM

Kidnap suspect in Fergus Falls let girl go after ordeal

Stepfather held in Otter Tail jail after abduction
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. – William Hanson had just finished reading a newspaper article Sunday about a 17-year-old girl abducted at gunpoint by her stepfather when he looked up to see the girl in the picture.

By: Brittany Lawonn, INFORUM

Stepfather held in Otter Tail jail after abduction

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. – William Hanson had just finished reading a newspaper article Sunday about a 17-year-old girl abducted at gunpoint by her stepfather when he looked up to see the girl in the picture.

“No more than a minute later she walked in the door, approached me and asked to use the telephone and then she proceeded to tell me that … she had been kidnapped and she had ran away and she needed to call her mother,” said Hanson, a Holiday gas station attendant.

Amy Rene Henning was pale, visibly shaken and looking over her shoulder to see if David Randy Sabby, 46, was in the area. The man against whom she has a court-issued protection order had held her for roughly four hours after taking her from the Westridge Mall parking lot.

Henning had fled in Sabby’s 1992 Chevrolet pickup around

1 a.m., making it back into town despite not knowing how to drive a stick shift.

Authorities are still investigating what happened during those four hours and what led to the abduction, but Fergus Falls Police Chief Tim Brennan released the following details Sunday:

Henning and her 26-year-old stepbrother were headed to a movie at Westridge Cinema 5 about 7 p.m. Saturday. They had just pulled into the parking lot when Sabby confronted them with a handgun.

“He ordered the brother into the backseat and duct-taped his hands and feet and then he left with the female in the vehicle that he had come in,” Brennan said. Sabby also gagged Henning’s stepbrother.

“I was in my car with my brother and he came and opened my driver’s side door before I even knew what was going on,” Henning told WDAY-TV on Sunday.

The stepbrother broke free and called police about 7:30 p.m.

Sabby fled the area with Henning inside his red and black pickup, eventually ending up in the campground area on the eastern side of Swan Lake in Otter Tail County.

At some point Sabby gave Henning the keys to the truck and took offf on foot without her to a residence near the lake.

“Sounds like just a change of heart, and he allowed her to leave,” Brennan said.

She fled to the Holiday station and contacted authorities.

Meanwhile, Sabby knocked on a man’s door and asked to use the phone.

The man called police. Authorities had issued an Amber Alert about Henning around 12:30 a.m., but it is unclear if the man knew about the kidnapping, Brennan said.

“I don’t know if he just called for the simple fact somebody’s banging on his door at 1 in the morning,” he said.

Sabby did not resist when arrested but is not talking to authorities, Brennan said. Authorities did not find a gun when they arrested him. Law enforcement officials were looking for it Sunday along Interstate 94 after Henning told them “she thinks he threw something out the window,” Brennan said.

Sabby was booked into the Otter Tail County Jail about 4 a.m. Sunday on suspicion of second-degree assault causing substantial injury and felony kidnapping causing bodily harm, said Corrections Officer Matt Saurer.

“He has been fine since he’s been here,” Saurer said.

Formal charges have not been filed in the case, and a court date has not yet been set.

“I think he’ll get what’s coming to him,” Henning told WDAY-TV.

Brennan said he believes Henning lived with Sabby at one point in Elbow Lake, Minn., but had recently been staying at a foster home in Grant County. He said he did not know what led to the protection order or why she was living in a foster home.

“I’m pretty sure he does not have any prior convictions,” Brennan said of Sabby, a pilot who unsuccessfully ran for Elbow Lake City Council in November.

Authorities are not yet sure whether Henning was bound during the incident, Brennan said, adding that she was treated and released from a hospital Sunday but did not suffer physical injuries in the incident.

“I’m asking everybody to please respect our privacy,” Denise Sabby said when reached for comment Sunday night. “My daughter is a minor. She is going through a lot right now.”

Other than her stepbrother, no one witnessed the confrontation Saturday, Brennan said.

There are security cameras at the movie theater, but they were not recording at the time of the incident, said Jason Wells, manager at Westridge Cinema 5.

Wells said he did not see anything out of the ordinary Saturday night, but noted that 7 p.m. is a busy time for the theater and he may have been preparing films to show.

Circumstances surrounding the abduction are still under investigation by the Fergus Falls Police Department, Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Department and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.


The Associated Press contributed to this report

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Brittany Lawonn at (701) 241-5541

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