MIDDLEBERRY, Mich.– Nearly 120 miles and running on fumes, detectives say fugitive killer, Michael David Elliot, and the woman he car-jacked stopped at a gas station just south of the Michigan-Indiana border. And that’s when she saw her chance to escape.
Staying calm but being smart, that’s how Michigan State Police described a woman forced to help a killer escape. For two hours, detectives say she built a rapport with the escaped murderer in the car.
“She kept showing him they were on fumes,” explained Det/ Sgt. Todd Petersen. “The small amount of money she had she showed him to get him to come here. The whole time she had her cell, but she lied to him and said she didn’t have it. She said she kept it on vibrate so it wouldn’t alert him so she’d have a phone to call if she got the chance.”
Just after 10:30 Sunday night, seven miles south of the Michigan border, Elliot agreed to stop at a Marathon gas station right off US-131. Middleberry, Ind. sits about 15 miles east of Elkhart.
But detectives say Elliot mentioned going to Cleveland and Chicago, but felt that was only because she had a GPS.
TJ Singh works the night shift at the busy truck stop and saw them come in. Surveillance cameras caught Elliot waiting in line to buy $11 in gas. According to Singh, the two acted completely calm.
Even when the woman asked for the address to the gas station. When Elliot wasn’t watching, she locked herself in a restroom and called 911. Singh said Elliot waited a few minutes but eventually took off in her Jeep Liberty.
Singh said he had no idea what was going on until police showed up, but Elliot was gone.
“They tell me he kill four people in Michigan and kidnap that lady then steal this vehicle,” Singh said.
Detectives say Elliot never threatened the woman; that he was only concerned about getting as far away from Michigan as he could. He made it as far as LaPorte County, Ind. before he was apprehended by police.