When 22-year-old Kimberly B. Goldscher left her job each evening at an Owings Mills fitness center, she always tried to leave with a group of people for safety.
But on Sunday morning, when Ms. Goldscher arrived for work at the Sinai Fitness Center on Painters Mill Road with her boyfriend, Eric Sean Cada, 24, of the 8300 block of Silver Trumpet Way, Columbia, her worst fears were realized.
A man waving two handguns forced his way into the couple's Jeep Cherokee and demanded money. The robbery quickly became an 18-hour ordeal, in which both Ms. Goldscher and Mr. Cada were driven by the man to an amusement park near Richmond, Va., and then, inexplicably, driven back to Baltimore.
But it was not until yesterday that the couple learned that the man who had abducted them and with whom they had spent time in two different motels, who had a taste for Egg McMuffins and who said he regretted not having been a better father, was implicated in the drug-related slayings of four people in Southwest Baltimore over the weekend.
Ms. Goldscher and Mr. Cada were freed early yesterday when the police broke down the door of a motel on Washington Boulevard in Elkridge and arrested a suspect, later identified as Ricardo Burks, 31, of the 400 block of South Augusta Avenue.
Later in the day, Mr. Burks was charged with murder and led the police to a deserted field in Anne Arundel County, where they found thebodies of three men who had been killed over the weekend in a drug dispute.
Mr. Goldscher said that when the gunman kidnapped them, "He said he needed to get away and wanted to find an isolated spot to drop us off."
That time did not come, however.
He first drove them to an automatic teller machine and made Mr. Cada withdraw money. Then he took them to a fast-food restaurant,where he wolfed down three Egg McMuffins. Next, he drove them down Interstate 95 to a motel near the Kings Dominion Amusement Park. Finally, he took them back to Baltimore, stopping at the motel in Elkridge where, 18 hours after the abduction, the police freed the couple.
Ms. Goldscher said she and Mr. Cada had to contend with mood changes by the gunman, who at times dictated letters to Mr. Cada for his wife and three children.
"He got very emotional," Ms. Goldscher said of the gunman. "He had a hard time expressing himself. He said he loved them and was sorryit had gone that far. He said he was not the father he should be."
Ms. Goldscher said that in one of the letters to his 14-year-old daughter, the gunman asked her to "please stay in school and go to college."
The couple's rescue finally came when the police burst through the door of the Terrace Motel. As they did, Ms. Goldscher said she and Mr. Cada rolled off the bed onto the floor in case shooting started. There was none. Instead, the police jumped on the gunman and removed his guns before he woke up.
Mr. Burks was charged last night in Baltimore County with the kidnapping of the couple.