‘I just froze’: 17-year-old says she escaped kidnapping, assault in park while walking her dog

A 17-year-old girl is shaken up after a man kidnapped and assaulted her at a park in the Nashville neighborhood of Antioch on Tuesday. (Source: WSMV)
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 3:15 PM EDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV/Gray News) – A 17-year-old girl is shaken up after she said a man kidnapped and assaulted her at a park in the Nashville neighborhood of Antioch last week.

According to Metro Police, Louis Martinez, 27, is now behind bars after the teen escaped and found help.

The 17-year-old victim, who chose to speak on camera but did not want to be named, said she was walking her dog at Williams A. Pitt Park on May 2 in the afternoon.

That’s when she said Martinez came up behind them.

“He grabbed my elbow and I noticed he had his other hand in his pocket the whole time,” the victim said.

She said she didn’t know if he had a weapon, so, she complied with what Martinez wanted. He complimented her piercings, asked if she had a boyfriend, and even kissed her, but she didn’t flinch.

“Mostly I just froze,” she said. “So, that’s how I was able to stay calm, because I just didn’t know what to do.”

Martinez then friended her on Snapchat. To get away, she said her dog needed water and made her way toward the dog park.

“There’s usually a bunch of people in the main area,” she explained. “So, I knew if I got to that area, I was going to be good.”

Sherri Martin, a dog park regular, praised the teen for her quick thinking.

“That was a very smart move,” Martin said.

The community helped Metro Nashville Police catch Martinez. The victim made a post on NextDoor, a neighborhood app, and another woman saw it. That woman went to William A. Pitts dog park the next day, saw the suspect, and reported it to police.

With the help of that woman, combined with tracking Martinez’s location via Snapchat, police were able to locate Martinez and charge him with kidnapping and assault.

The 17-year-old wants others to learn from her experience. She suggests people walk with someone else if they can, and carry pepper spray.