Student, 18, abducted in Pa., flees in Woodlawn Kidnap, attempted murder charged to ex-boyfriend

March 03, 1998|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

The former boyfriend of a Drexel University student was accused of abducting her from the Philadelphia campus Sunday evening, driving her to a Motel 6 in Maryland and trying to smother her early yesterday with a pillow.

Both the student and ex-boyfriend are residents of Baltimore County.

The student, Tia Jamya McNair, 18, escaped with a split lip and gashed head after she disabled her captor with pepper spray and ran screaming for help to the motel office, police said.

Police arrested Dale Graham Jr., 18, of the 4200 block of Old Milford Mill Road in Colonial Village shortly before 2 a.m. yesterday. Graham was found hiding in nearby woods after he drove his car into the room next to one he had rented at the Motel 6 and ran away, police said.

McNair of the 3700 block of Washington Ave. in Milford Mill was walking to her dormitory room on the Drexel campus when a man drove up and forced her into his car, police said. He drove around Philadelphia before getting on Interstate 95 and driving to the motel in the 1600 block of Whitehead Court, near the Beltway at Security Boulevard.

The abductor stopped at a gas station on the way, where McNair tried to escape, police said.

Once in Baltimore, Graham drove to the Motel 6 and rented Room 123 for two days, according to the police report. McNair told officers that he could see her while he registered, and she was afraid to get out of the car.

McNair waited in the car while he drove to a nearby Shell station and bought sodas, snacks and condoms, said the police report of the incident. Then the two returned to the motel, entered Room 123 and the man called his mother, police said.

After the call, the report said, he searched McNair's purse. She told him she wanted to leave, and he tried to smother her with a pillow, police said. McNair pulled a container of pepper spray from her pocket, sprayed his face and ran to the office for help shortly before midnight.

Motel staff called police. When officers went to Room 123, it was empty, but a 1988 Toyota Celica was in Room 122. Police said Graham, blinded by pepper spray, had tried to back out of his parking space, but drove forward through the wall.

Police searched the area with helicopters and police dogs, and found Graham in woods near Scotts Level Road.

Police took him to the Woodlawn Precinct where he was charged yesterday with attempted murder, kidnapping, false imprisonment, second-degree assault and destruction of property. Last night, Graham appeared before a District Court commissioner who ordered him held without bail pending a bail review hearing today.

The case also was being investigated by the FBI and police in Philadelphia, county police said.

Pub Date: 3/03/98

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