'She begged for her life’: Prosecutors detail scope of horrific kidnapping, assault

'She begged for her life': Prosecutors detail scope of horrific kidnapping, assault

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Prosecutors say a University of Hawaii student who was kidnapped, assaulted and nearly drowned during a horrific, hours-long ordeal begged for her life and was bound and gagged by her attacker.

On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted 23-year-old Austin Quale Joseph on nine additional charges, including five counts of sex assault along with robbery and theft.

He had already been charged with kidnapping and using the victim’s bank card.

In court on Wednesday afternoon, deputy Prosecutor Rochelle Vidinha detailed the scope of what the 22-year-old victim endured over more than four hours.

She said the student “begged for her life," and that the suspect threatened her life several times.

The incident started about 7:40 p.m. April 3, when the victim was driving on Kalanianaole Highway and hit a large rock in the road.

Authorities said she stopped to check on her car when Joseph, who is homeless, forced her into the passenger seat, and bound her legs and hands at knifepoint.

“The defendant also tied a cloth over her eyes and put a gag in her mouth,” Vidinha said.

"The defendant had a knife to her neck and placed her in a choke hold, and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.”

She said the victim was sexually assaulted several times, including once on the beach while still restrained. Joseph then allegedly tried to drown the woman in the ocean.

"The defendant, at that point, pulled her back out of the water, laid her on the grass face down and told her, ‘I have an ax and if you don’t answer these questions correctly I’m going to chop your head off.’”

The victim was eventually released at Windward Mall.

But not before Joseph allegedly forced the victim to tell him the PIN numbers and pass codes for her phone, bank cards, and laptop.

Vidinha said the suspect used the victim’s debit card to withdraw $100 from an ATM at the Aloha Gas Station at Windward Mall off Kamehameha Highway.

One week later, a police officer patrolling the Windward Mall parking lot noticed a car missing a side mirror. When he approached it, he recognized Joseph from the surveillance video and images that captured him at the Aloha Gas Station ATM.

Joseph was arrested, and remains in jail on $1 million bail.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.