BRADENTON, Fla. - The kidnapping that led to the fatal shooting of the suspect in the case is uncommon, but stands as an extreme example of domestic violence behavior that does happen more often, experts say.
Bradenton Police say that Craig Devon Rodgers held Delisia Hairston captive in a home on 20th Street East for about 36 hours before they freed her. A police detective shot and killed Rodgers several blocks away after he confronted the detective with a metal pipe, Bradenton Police say.
"For this area it is unusual," says Deputy Chief Warren Merriman of the imprisonment. "We have not had a similar complaint of kidnapping or false imprisonment to that extent for quite some time in this area."
But many women in abusive relationships can feel as if held prisoner. "It might not be you're held in a room for multiple days at a time," says Jessica Hays, of Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC) in Sarasota. "But it might be you're expected to be in at a certain time, and there are restrictions on where you go or who you go there with."
Rodgers, 40, and Hairston, 37, met in Georgia, and she came with him voluntarily to Bradenton, where they stayed at Rodgers' brother's house. The separation from family and friends is a familiar tactic abusers employ, whether it's geographical, or discouraging contact with friends and family, "so that they're cut off from their support systems so they rely more and more on that batterer," Hays says.
Sometime June 7, Rodgers refused to let Hairston leave the home, and confined her to a room. The next day he allowed her to go out on the front porch, and she sent messages through Facebook to a cousin in South Carolina, who called Bradenton Police. "It was remarkable that she was able to do that," Hays says of Hairston's resourcefulness. SPARCC collects used cell phones to give to women in abusive relationships who might need to make an emergency call. Cell phones can call 911 even if they have no service plan.
Hairston, whom police say is out of the hospital after treatment for injuries Rodgers inflicted, did not want her location revealed. Having survived, she might need counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder, guidance on how to find support systems, and reassurance that she did not bring this on herself. "They're never doing something to ask for it or doing something that might make them more vulnerable to it," Hays says.