UPDATE: Police say kidnapping victim found alive and safe
By: Kayla Bremer
Thirty-eight year old Julie Hanes, a Lincoln woman kidnapped over the weekend was found safe and uninjured outside Imperial Sunday night.
Just after 7 p.m., the search for Hanes came to an end when she walked out of a cornfield nearly 300 miles from where she was kidnapped the day before.
“Shortly after that, one gun shot was heard by some of the law enforcement officers,” Lincoln Police Chief Jim Peschong said.
Her kidnapper was her estranged soon to be ex–husband Dwayne Lawrence. His body was found in the cornfield a couple hours later. Police say he died of a self–inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
It all began Saturday afternoon when Lawrence went to Audacious, Hanes' hair salon near 27th and O St.
Officials say Lawrence tied up one of Julie's friends, put a zip tie around Julie's neck and took her from the store, then drove to Imperial where's Julie's family lives and where she was in the process of moving.
“They had been having ongoing domestic problems for the last month,” Chief Peschong added. “He had pulled out a hand gun and threatened to take his own life on several different occasions. He had recently been arrested in the middle of July and was currently out on bond.”
Police say the car was spotted outside a house in the early morning hours on Sunday, then was later found two miles outside the town near a cornfield.
A perimeter was set up and K–9 units and the Nebraska State Patrol's Air Wing were brought in after a farmer told police he saw a man and a woman walk into the field.
Chief Peschong says Lawrence was a potentially very dangerous person who had a lot of access to guns and they're lucky more people weren't hurt during the search.
“It was potentially a pretty dicey situation for the area law enforcement officers that were setting up a perimeter in this cornfield not knowing what type of weapon or weapons he may actually have on him.”
Police say Hanes did have a protection order against Lawrence after he was arrested for 3rd degree domestic assault in July.
Lawrence was out after posting bond.
By: Lauren Fabrizi
According to police, an alleged kidnapping victim was found safe and unharmed Sunday night shortly after 7 p.m. near Imperial, Neb. Police also said the kidnapper is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Police said the victim, 38-year-old Julie Hanes, walked out of a cornfield onto the street, uninjured. She was transported to a local hospital.
Back here in Lincoln, neighbors of the victim are still in shock.
“They seem very nice and neighborly, and we all seemed to get along pretty well,” Dan Bork said.
Nebraska State Patrol officials said around 4:30 a.m. Sunday, an Imperial officer on foot patrol spotted the pair's car on a county road in the west part of Imperial. The car took off.
Officials then said around 8:30 a.m., a farmer reported he had located a 1998 gold Chrysler Concord near an irrigated farm field, which matched the description of the vehicle driven by the suspect, 37-year-old Dwayne Lawrence, of Lincoln.
NSP officials said an NSP helicopter, along with K-9 units and officers from NSP, Imperial Police Department and Chase County Sheriff's Office searched an 8-mile area about two miles west of Imperial. That's around where Hanes was found.
Lincoln police said Lawrence entered Audacious Hair Salon near 27th and O around noon Saturday and took his soon–to–be ex–wife Hanes at gunpoint and kidnapped her.
Lawrence was arrested in July for 3rd degree domestic assault and false imprisonment, among other charges. He bonded out four days later.
Neighbors and nearby workers said events like this rarely take place in this neighborhood.
“I was pretty scared,” Quyen Carlson said. “We've been here since May and nothing shady or scary ever happened. So it was kind of scary to know that it was just right on top of us.”
“I think myself and some of the neighbors were a little surprised,” Bork added. “You never think that this would happen next door.”
Hanes is currently safe in the presence of law enforcement.