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Port Orchard man aids kidnap victim who ran out of the woods

A Port Orchard man delivering newspapers Saturday morning found and helped a beaten and lost Port Ludlow woman who had been kidnapped by her boyfriend.

Robert Zollna, 41, said he was completing his route for the Tacoma News Tribune around 6 a.m. June 6 on Lieseke Lane when a woman ran out of the woods and flagged him down.

“I thought ‘oh, no, I’m going to get yelled at,’” Zollna said, explaining that he thought he had been going too fast or was late delivering someone’s paper. But when the woman got closer, he saw that she was injured and needed help.

“She was bloody, barefoot and in her nightgown,” he said. “She didn’t know where she was, and her face was so swollen she could hardly talk.”

Zollna said his first thought was that her car had gone off a nearby cliff, but the woman told him she had been kidnapped by her boyfriend, whom she said was asleep nearby in his car on Berry Lake Road.

“She kept saying ‘he’s going to wake up and hunt me down,’” Zollna recalled. “I told her, ‘if he shows up, I’ll drive away.”

Zollna said he wasn’t scared for his life, and told the woman they should wait in his car until the police arrived.

Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Wilson said the victim is a 24-year-old woman who had been living with her 38-year-old boyfriend, Larry Buck, in Pasco. Wilson said the relationship was abusive, and the woman moved up to Port Ludlow recently to live with family.

However, Wilson said Buck tracked her down and “at around 2:30 a.m. (June 6), he showed up at the house, put a knife to her throat and said ‘if you don’t come with me, I’ll kill your family.’”

Zollna said the victim told him Buck threatened to kill her child, as well as the adults she was living with.

Wilson said when deputies arrived on scene, the suspect was still asleep in his vehicle. He was later arrested, though he denied knowing anything about the victim or the bloody, ripped clothing and other evidence Wilson said was in his car.

Buck was initially booked in Kitsap County Jail under $350,000 bail, but Wilson said “the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office upped it to $750,000.”

Buck was arrested for one count of kidnapping and one count of assault in the first-degree. Both counts included special charges of domestic-violence.

After Buck's preliminary appearance in Kitsap County Superior Court Monday, his bail was increased to $3 million.

Wilson said the victim was transported to Harrison Medical Center Saturday, and he believed she had been released later that day.

Zollna said this is not the first time he’s seen crimes or other incidents occurring during the early-morning hours when most everyone else is asleep.

“I’ve called in two house fires, seen break-ins, car prowls, and found a young girl hiding in the bushes on Sroufe Street,” he said.

Zollna, who has delivered newspapers since getting his first route at 8-years-old, said carriers become valuable eyes and ears for neighborhoods.

“We drive through them every morning. We know what should be there and what shouldn’t, we know when something’s wrong,” he said. “We’re like private security driving through.”

Zollna said at one point the kidnap victim asked him what type of car he had, and “she said it was the most beautiful car she had ever seen.”

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