A Florida woman used the comments section of a Pizza Hut order made from her smartphone on Monday afternoon to alert authorities that she and her children were being held hostage. When police responded to her message, arriving at the location, she and her children were quickly released, unharmed, and the kidnapper was arrested.
According to a Highlands County Sheriff’s Office press release, Cheryl Treadway, a woman from Avon Park, about 85 miles southeast of Tampa, had been arguing most of the day with her boyfriend, Ethan Nickerson, who carried “a large knife.”
As the agency wrote:
When Ms. Treadway attempted to leave the residence to pick up the children from school, Mr. Nickerson grabbed her and took her cell phone. He then accompanied Ms. Treadway to pick up the children. Upon returning home, Ms. Treadway eventually convinced Mr. Nickerson to let her use the cell phone to order a pizza which is when she sent the message to Pizza Hut. Immediately after the pizza order was placed, Mr. Nickerson took the cell phone back from her.
WFLA, a local television station, reported that this was her regular order, a “hand-tossed classic pizza with pepperoni.”
The Pizza Hut employees recognized Treadway’s order and realized that her comments to send help could be genuine.
Officers were dispatched both to the Pizza Hut location and to Treadway’s home, where one cop convinced Nickerson to stand down and let the hostages go.
“We’ve never seen that before,” the restaurant’s manager, Candy Hamilton, told WFLA. “I’ve been here 28 years and never, never seen nothing like that come through.”