A California woman who was kidnapped and held captive for almost five days while on safari in Uganda is speaking out about her experience for the first time.
In an interview with Gayle King CBS This Morning on Friday, Kimberly Endicott told the story of how she was kidnapped alongside her tour guide, Jean-Paul Mirenge, in Queen Elizabeth National Park in southwestern Uganda on April 2. The pair were rescued by Ugandan authorities on April 7, according to the Associated Press.
Endicott said that she was able to realize a dream during the trip -– seeing gorillas. On her first day of in Uganda, two of the apes even came up to and touched her.
“All of the guides said, ‘You are very lucky,'” Endicott said.
On the third day of her trip, however, Endicott’s vacation took a dark turn. Endicott was driving through the park with Mierenge and an elderly Canadian couple when four men walked out of the bushes.
Endicott said that because they were carrying guns, she initially believed that the men were park rangers. However, she quickly realized that they were “ragtag” and not wearing uniforms.
“They make us get out of the vehicle. They make us sit on the ground. And that’s where things go very, I don’t know how to describe it. There’s really not a word to describe what that felt like,” she said. “Pure fear? But that almost doesn’t do it justice.”
The men forced Mirenge and Endicott to run out into the park with them, leaving behind the Canadian couple and the vehicle. Endicott said that she became more afraid when she noticed that her captor was shaking, and wondered if he was on drugs. She later decided that she needed to “humanize” herself to her captors. Although she was never assaulted during the ordeal, she said she was in fear the entire time.
“That became my mission for myself was to be human with them. Not only for them to see me that way, but for me to see them that way,” said Endicott.
At one point, she began contemplating the worst-case scenarios. “How do I get them to shoot me? Just shoot me, instead of raping me or dismembering me?” she said. “If I ran, oh I think that would just make them angry. And I think I would get treated pretty badly if I tried to run.”
When King asked where Endicott might have run if she had tried to escaped, she responded, “There’s no place to run.”
A $500,000 ransom was ultimately paid for Mirenge and Endicott’s return, CBS News reported.
Ugandan police said earlier this month that they have arrested several people in connection to the kidnapping, and that they are continuing to investigate the case, according to the Associated Press.