Man holds woman, girls hostage in Avon
AVON – Wendy Donaldson had just loaded her two daughters into her white Suburban early Monday afternoon when she realized she’d left her mailbox key in her Avon Crossings apartment. She left the girls in the car as she rushed back inside. Entering her home, Donaldson, 36, suddenly realized she wasn’t alone. She turned to find a man standing behind her with a gun in his hand, police said. The man told Donaldson he wanted her car, and Donaldson told the man he could take the 2005 white Chevrolet Suburban but she wanted her girls, ages 7 and 10, Avon police Chief Brian Kozak said.The man told Donaldson to call her girls back into the apartment, then he took the three into the master bedroom where he made them take the shoelaces out of the shoes in the room, Kozak said. He used tape and the shoelaces to tie them up, all the while shouting commands and profanity at them, Kozak said. The man stayed in the room with the Donaldsons for several hours before leaving in the Suburban, Kozak said. The man stayed in the room with the Donaldsons for several hours before leaving in the Suburban, Kozak said. Around 4 p.m., Minturn First Bank teller Joann Avilla was closing the branch when she noticed a man sitting in a white Suburban, Kozak said.Avilla had already jotted down the SUV’s license plate number when the man, wearing a ski mask over the lower half of his face, a black baseball cap and gloves, got out of the car and walked up to the bank, Kozak said. Vail and Avon police launched a manhunt but failed to find the suspect or the suspicious Suburban. Running the license plate number, officers, who didn’t yet know about the Donaldsons’ ordeal, learned the car belonged to someone living in Avon Crossing, Kozak said. Officers went to the apartment complex, but couldn’t find the car. They knocked on Donaldsons’ apartment door, but there was no answer, Kozak said. At about the same time, Donaldson’s 10-year-old daughter managed to free herself and untied her mother and sister, Kozak said. Donaldson was finally able to call police at 5:37 p.m. The three were unharmed, Kozak said. The white Suburban was later found in Vail, and the search for the suspect continues.
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Some local law enforcement don’t like the red flag gun law, but they’re still learning how to enforce it if they have to.