CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In an exclusive interview, the woman who was kidnapped from the Arboretum Shopping Center shared her story with NBC Charlotte.
Cameron Downing-Brown said an armed man forced her into her own car then drove across state lines. The 30-year-old said she was able to make up a story that got him to let her go.
“I’m not pregnant, but I lied,” she said.
It started around 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Downing-Brown said she just had lunch with her mother and grandmother.
“It was raining, so I didn’t want my grandma to have to walk through the parking lot,” she said.
Downing-Brown went to get her SUV to pick up her grandmother when the armed suspect approached.
“As I was getting in the car, someone came up with a gun, and said, ‘Slide over in the passenger seat,'” she said.
Downing-Brown said the armed suspect forced her into her own vehicle and drove to South Carolina.
“He said we were going to go to South Carolina, and I was going to help him get a hotel,” she said.
Downing-Brown said the suspect did not know how to get across the state line.
“He asked me for directions,” she said “So I told him to take Providence Road and 485 South,” she said.
After watching her share of true crime shows, Downing-Brown said she knew she had to come up with a plan.
“I was like, ‘I’m not dying like this, I’ve watched this play out a million times,'” she said.
In the meantime, Downing-Brown played along with the suspect trying to make small talk.
“I asked him what he did. He said he used to be a cook,” she said. “I was trying to keep the conversation going, not anger him.”
Downing-Brown then made a desperate attempt to get free.
“(I) told him I was pregnant, and I had to use the restroom,” she said.
The lie worked.
Downing-Brown said she was able to get the suspect to pull into a gas station off I-77 in York County. He followed her in.
“He said, ‘Don’t try telling anyone; I have the gun in my pocket,'” she said..
Once inside, Downing-Brown said she kept thinking about those detective shows again.
“They (the shows) said if you get that opportunity, on the shows, if you get that opportunity don’t give it up, don’t get back in the car,” she said.
Downing-Brown told the suspect she could not get back in the vehicle.
“I told him I was bleeding, and I thought something was wrong with my baby,” she said.
Downing-Brown said the suspect agreed to take her SUV and leave but not before demanding her driver’s license and making a terrifying threat.
“He said, ‘Now I have your address if you call the police, I’ll come to your home and kill you and your husband,'” she said.
In the end, it was the suspect who met that fate.
Authorities said 31-year-old Kyle Horton was killed Tuesday night during an officer-involved shooting in New Hanover County, North Carolina.
“Involving another robbery, from what I understand, and was ultimately shot and killed,” said Rob Tufano with Charlotte Mecklenburg Police.
“I’m thankful that he let me go and I was able to come home and be with my family right before Christmas,” said Downing-Brown.
NBC Charlotte talked to Downing-Brown on Wednesday about the latest developments with the suspect. She said it’s tragic whenever someone dies, but added he did it to himself.