Woman Recalls Abduction Nightmare in Which She Was Forced to Marry Her Accused Kidnapper
Virginia Paris feared her alleged abductor, Joseph Hetzel, would kill her if she didn't do what he said.
Surveillance footage has revealed the tense moment a woman who says she was kidnapped and forced to marry her alleged abductor in a Las Vegas wedding chapel, according to police.
Joseph Hetzel, 52, is seen kissing Virginia Paris, 55, on the cheek. He also puts his arm around her neck and holds her tight in the video, which was recorded earlier this month.
She says that his actions were no gesture of love, but an act of intimidation.
Paris told Inside Edition that she feared Hetzel might kill her and she believed she was going to die.
At one point, she tried to leave the chapel during the wedding, but Hetzel blocked her and forced her back.
Paris says her four-day nightmare began when she was leaving her job at a retirement home in Santa Barbara County in California, when a car deliberately cut her off. The driver suddenly jumped into her car.
The man was an acquaintance, Hetzel, who she says ordered her to drive to Las Vegas.
She had struck up a friendship with Hetzel two months earlier, but ended it when she says he became obsessed with her.
“I kept asking him to stop,” she told Inside Edition. “It was just horrible.”
After the wedding ceremony, Hetzel allowed her to call her daughter, Jennifer, who immediately knew something was wrong.
“She called to tell me don't ever forget how much how much she loves us and I said, 'Mom, why are you talking like that?,'” Jennifer told Inside Edition.
Paris says her nightmare ended at the Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino, located about 20 miles away from the Las Vegas strip.
When she got to the hotel, she saw a chance to get help when he gave her $100 to check in to the room. That's when she appealed to the hotel clerk for help.
Surveillance footage shows her checking into the hotel after the wedding.
Hetzel sent her in alone because he didn't want to be caught on surveillance cameras in the hotel lobby.
Hotel clerk Danielle Jacobsen came to her rescue.
Jacobsen said Paris told her, "This is what's going on. I need you to act like you're checking me in. I've been abducted and taken against my will."
Surveillance cameras outside the hotel showed the moment Hetzel realized the cops had arrived. He fled and also took the time to leave an ominous voicemail message with Virginia’s daughter.
“This is Joseph, I was chased by the cops and I’ve taken pills. It will soon be over. By the time the cops get me, I will be dead,” he said in the message.
Hetzel was captured in Las Vegas before he could do any more harm. He faces kidnapping and carjacking charges.
Paris is in the process of getting her marriage to Hetzel annulled.
Photo of Joseph Hertzel courtesy of Mirror's Edge Photography.
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